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12/01/2022 - Views

Opportunities for Out of Home: What Does Plan B Mean for the Aviation Industry?

The UK Government has announced that we will be keeping “Plan B” restrictions in place for the next few weeks, and whilst this may feel like a step back – it's not all bad news.

Although we cannot predict what changes will come further down the line, we can explore what to expect over the next few weeks as outlined in the announcement and are certain that 2022 will be the busiest year since the pandemic.

Plan B and the Aviation Industry 

Although the Omicron variant made its way around the world towards the end of 2021, December was still the busiest month of the year for the aviation industry. Despite thousands of flights being cancelled, 2.43 million flights still took place worldwide (Cirium).  

Despite this busy period, the Government’s latest update will ultimately transform 2022 into one of the busiest years since the pandemic. Fully vaccinated passengers and under 18s no longer require a pre-departure test when arriving in the UK and will now only need to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test when they arrive in the country. 

For the aviation industry, this is huge news as the current restrictions have caused passenger numbers to fall by one-third after they were introduced (MAG). Within hours of the Government’s announcement, EasyJet saw demand for some destinations increase 400% and overall bookings increase by 200%. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways also reported increases in website searches of 150% and 40%, respectively. 

Confidence and Future Bookings 

It is clear to see from the UK’s response that the population has been waiting for these restrictions to be removed before booking their holidays for 2022. According to Hays Travel, an independent travel agent, they’ve seen customers splurge their lockdown savings on holidays – spending £478 more than they did before the pandemic. 

With 71.0% of the UK population fully vaccinated (Our World in Data), we’ve seen a huge interest in bookings to countries like Spain and the USA who have relaxed restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers. EasyJet has seen a 427% increase in bookings for Lanzarote, a Spanish island, while Tenerife, Alicante and Malaga, all Spanish destinations, have also seen a 200% increase in bookings. Spain is currently a popular and trusted destination for holidaymakers due to it allowing fully vaccinated customers to travel without additional entry rules  

Another popular destination, the USA, has seen bookings to Orlando, Florida increase by 64% and New York increase by over 100% (Barrhead Travel). The US eased its travel restrictions before the Omnicom variant hit, allowing fully vaccinated Brits to enter the US with a negative COVID-19 test in some cases. 

It is clear to see that holidaymakers are confident travelling to these countries and we only expect this to increase as more countries relax their restrictions. 

Tom Perrett, Client Services Director, Plexus Outdoor, said: “The government’s removal of the requirement for pre-departure tests for inbound travellers is hugely significant and offers great peace of mind for both holiday-makers and business travellers. This has been reflected in the increase in bookings and searches for trips over the coming weeks and months.  

Whilst the industry has been on somewhat of a rollercoaster, this feels like a significant, more permanent step forward. These increases in audiences, and significant available quality inventory, represent a great opportunity for advertisers to take advantage of this renewed positivity around the airport environment.”