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Covered in this report

This report examines the behaviours and attitudes of UK adults concerning air travel. Travel for all purposes (eg holidays, visits to friends or relatives, business trips and flights for other purposes) is included in the scope of this report.

What you need to know

High oil prices, rising labour costs and the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX airplanes have impacted airlines’ profits. On top of that, airlines are facing softer demand for travel amid Brexit uncertainties. To strengthen their position in a highly cost competitive market, some airlines are exploring data-driven innovations, seeking partnerships or acquisitions, expanding into the package holiday market and/or reducing capacity.

All reports purchased from the Mintel Store now come with free access to our COVID-19 Global Insights Hub, allowing you to understand how industries and consumer behaviour is changing worldwide.


What does the COVID-19 Global Insights Hub give you access to?

  • Over 450 pieces of research (with more published each week) addressing markets across the globe.
  • Discover how people in countries at different stages of the crisis are adjusting to the 'new normal'.
  • Trending industries which have seen growth due to the changes in circumstance.
  • Our latest consumer research surveys, allowing you to see customers views right now.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Marloes De Vries, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Whilst most travellers choose to fly economy, there are opportunities for airlines to upsell by offering more flexibility when it comes to selecting add-ons and services considered to be more premium Marloes De Vries
Travel Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Significant slowdown in market growth
              • Figure 1: International passenger numbers uplifted at UK airports, 2014-24
              • Figure 2: Domestic passenger numbers uplifted from UK airports, 2014-24
            • Increasing environmental pressures on aviation industry
              • Overcapacity in Europe puts downward pressure on airfares
                • Companies and brands
                  • Jet2.com fastest growing major UK airline
                    • Virgin Atlantic strengthens position as Connect Airways acquires Flybe
                      • New developments around electric aircrafts that take off vertically
                        • Dubai International plans to become a destination in its own right
                          • Capacity optimisation by Volantio
                            • The consumer
                              • Over half of UK adults travelled by air in the year to June 2019
                                • Figure 3: Flights taken, June 2019
                              • Holidays account for largest share of flights taken
                                • Almost one third of passengers flew domestically
                                  • Loyalty can be increased through subscription models
                                    • Flexibility in booking process allows travellers to shape their own experience
                                      • Almost one in three passengers makes use of an airline’s app
                                        • Figure 4: Use of airlines’ and airports’ services, June 2019
                                      • Roughly 4 in 10 passengers would be interested in booking holiday excursions/activities on board
                                        • Figure 5: Attitudes towards leisure activities at airports and buying experiences on board, June 2019
                                      • Alcohol most purchased duty free product with an airline
                                        • Figure 6: Purchased duty free products, June 2019
                                      • Long-haul passengers willing to pay for a better flying experience
                                        • Figure 7: Price versus flying experience, June 2019
                                      • Almost half of passengers think their own devices are more convenient
                                        • Figure 8: Attitudes towards in-flight entertainment and interaction, June 2019
                                      • The majority of passengers expect airlines to develop alternative fuels
                                        • Figure 9: Attitudes towards sustainability and travelling by train, June 2019
                                      • What we think
                                      • Issues and Insights

                                        • Increasing environmental pressures on growing aviation industry
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                              • Price vs experience
                                                • The facts
                                                  • The implications
                                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Significant slowdown in market growth
                                                      • Increasing environmental pressures on aviation industry
                                                        • Several airlines have gone bust amid rising oil prices
                                                          • Overcapacity in Europe puts downward pressure on airfares
                                                            • Airlines face rising labour costs
                                                              • British Airways’ data breach could lead to a hefty fine
                                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                • Significant slowdown in market growth
                                                                  • Figure 10: Passenger numbers uplifted at UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                • International traffic expected to be hit harder than domestic traffic in 2019
                                                                  • Figure 11: Total passenger numbers uplifted at UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                  • Figure 12: International passenger numbers uplifted at UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                  • Figure 13: Domestic passenger numbers uplifted from UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                • Forecast methodology
                                                                • Market Segmentation - Overseas Flights Taken By UK Residents

                                                                  • Softer demand for overseas flights after seven years of consecutive growth
                                                                    • Figure 14: Overseas trips taken by UK residents, by mode of transport, 2015-18
                                                                  • Holidays; the only segment within overseas air travel to record growth in 2018
                                                                    • Figure 15: Overseas trips taken by air by UK residents, by purpose, 2015-18
                                                                  • Italy outperformed top 10 destinations in terms of growth in 2018
                                                                    • Figure 16: Overseas trips taken by air by UK residents, by destination, 2015-18
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Brexit uncertainties impact demand for overseas holidays and business trips
                                                                    • Increasing environmental pressures on aviation industry
                                                                      • Several airlines have gone bust amid rising oil prices
                                                                        • Figure 17: Europe Brent Spot price, yearly averages 2010-18, forecast 2019-20 per July 2019
                                                                      • Overcapacity in Europe puts downward pressure on airfares
                                                                        • Airlines face rising labour costs
                                                                          • Grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft impacts airlines’ profits
                                                                            • British Airways’ data breach could lead to a hefty fine
                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                              • Jet2.com fastest growing major UK airline
                                                                                • Virgin Atlantic strengthens position as Connect Airways acquires Flybe
                                                                                  • New developments around electric aircrafts that take off vertically
                                                                                    • KLM raises awareness of sustainable aviation being a joint responsibility
                                                                                      • Dubai International plans to become a destination in its own right
                                                                                        • Capacity optimisation by Volantio
                                                                                          • Eurowings and Lufthansa above-the-line spend increased significantly
                                                                                          • Market Share

                                                                                            • Jet2.com fastest growing major UK airline
                                                                                              • Figure 18: Top 10 UK-based* airlines, by passenger numbers uplifted globally, 2013-18
                                                                                            • Virgin Atlantic strengthens position as Connect Airways acquires Flybe
                                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                              • New aircraft on the horizon
                                                                                                • Hybrid Air Vehicles develops hybrid aircraft for more sustainable flights
                                                                                                  • New developments around electric aircrafts that take off vertically
                                                                                                    • Airlines are looking to reduce their emissions
                                                                                                      • LanzaTech’s sustainable fuel used for first commercial flight by Virgin Atlantic
                                                                                                        • KLM raises awareness of sustainable aviation being a joint responsibility
                                                                                                          • New services to enhance the check-in experience for morning flights
                                                                                                            • Jet2holidays expanded its Twilight Check-In service
                                                                                                              • Wake Up at the Gate package for families at Dubai International Airport
                                                                                                                • Airports strive to offer the best experience
                                                                                                                  • Jewel Changi Airport has opened its doors
                                                                                                                    • Dubai International plans to become a destination in its own right
                                                                                                                      • Data-driven approach to increase airlines’ revenue
                                                                                                                        • Capacity optimisation by Volantio
                                                                                                                          • Migacore develops demand forecasting models for travel industry
                                                                                                                          • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                            • Above-the-line spend by airlines decreased by almost 4% in 2018
                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on ads by airlines, 2016-18
                                                                                                                            • Jet2.com focusses on trust and low fares in its national campaign in 2018
                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Top 10 above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on ads by airlines, 2016-18
                                                                                                                            • Eurowings and Lufthansa above-the-line spend increased significantly
                                                                                                                              • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                              • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                  • Brand map
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, June 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Key metrics for selected brands, June 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Brand attitudes: easyJet most closely associated with offering good value
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Attitudes, by brand, June 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Brand personality: Ryanair is more likely to be considered unethical
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Brand personality – Macro image, June 2019
                                                                                                                                  • British Airways and Virgin Atlantic seen as special and stylish, but consumers believe this comes at a price
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Brand personality – Micro image, June 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                    • British Airways has highest share of committed customers
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: User profile of British Airways, June 2019
                                                                                                                                    • Many travellers had an excellent experience with Virgin Atlantic
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: User profile of Virgin Atlantic, June 2019
                                                                                                                                    • Jet2.com has the highest satisfaction rating among selected low-cost airlines
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: User profile of Jet2.com, June 2019
                                                                                                                                    • easyJet seen as more trustworthy than selected low-cost competitors
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: User profile of easyJet, June 2019
                                                                                                                                    • Rebranding Flybe should pay off as awareness and differentiation remain behind
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: User profile of Flybe, June 2019
                                                                                                                                    • Ryanair third most used airline despite poor image
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: User profile of Ryanair, June 2019
                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                    • Over half of UK adults travelled by air in the year to June 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Almost one third of passengers flew domestically
                                                                                                                                        • Loyalty can be increased through subscription models
                                                                                                                                          • Flexibility in booking process allows travellers to shape their own experience
                                                                                                                                            • Alcohol most purchased duty free product with an airline
                                                                                                                                              • Long-haul passengers willing to pay for a better flying experience
                                                                                                                                              • Flights Taken

                                                                                                                                                • Over half of UK adults travelled by air in the year to June 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Flights taken, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Participation and frequency in last 12 months, by demographics, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Holidays account for largest share of flights taken
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Flights taken, by purpose, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Flight Destinations

                                                                                                                                                • Almost one third of passengers flew domestically
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Flight destinations, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Budget vs Full-service Airlines

                                                                                                                                                • Loyalty can be increased through subscription models
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Airline types flown with in the last 12 months, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Classes Flown

                                                                                                                                                • Flexibility in booking process allows travellers to shape their own experience
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Classes flown, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Airline and Airport Services

                                                                                                                                                • Almost one in three passengers make use of an airline’s app
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Use of airlines’ and airports’ services, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Roughly 4 in 10 passengers would be interested in booking holiday excursions/activities on board
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Attitudes towards leisure activities at airports and buying experiences on board, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Opportunities for airports to develop more leisure activities
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Attitudes towards leisure activities at airports – CHAID analysis, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Duty Free Products

                                                                                                                                                • Alcohol most purchased duty free product with an airline
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Purchased duty free products, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • About one third of duty free customers bought three or more products
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Purchased duty free products - repertoire, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Highest interest in duty free alcohol and fragrance, skincare or make-up
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Considered duty free products, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Alcohol duty free products mostly appeal to older generations
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Considered duty free products, by demographics, June 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Price versus Experience

                                                                                                                                                • Long-haul passengers willing to pay for a better flying experience
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Price versus flying experience, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Many short-haul passengers are willing to accept lower levels of comfort for a lower ticket price
                                                                                                                                                • In-flight Entertainment and Interaction

                                                                                                                                                  • Almost half of passengers think their own devices are more convenient
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Attitudes towards in-flight entertainment and interaction, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Virtual reality likely to appeal to families
                                                                                                                                                  • Attitudes towards Sustainability

                                                                                                                                                    • The majority of passengers expect airlines to develop alternative fuels
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Attitudes towards sustainability and travelling by train, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Younger generation keen on travelling by train
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Attitudes towards sustainability and travelling by train, by demographics, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                          • Definitions
                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                              • CHAID methodology
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Airlines – CHAID – table output, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                              • Volume forecast for total passengers uplifted at UK airports
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Total passenger numbers uplifted at UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                              • Volume forecast for international passengers uplifted at UK airports
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: International passenger numbers uplifted at UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                              • Volume forecast for domestic passengers uplifted at UK airports
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Domestic passenger numbers uplifted from UK airports, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                              • Forecast methodology

                                                                                                                                                              About the report

                                                                                                                                                              This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                              • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                              • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                              • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                              • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                              • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                              Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                                                                                                              Description