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Cirium survey reveals UK confidence to fly is high despite Brexit and COVID-19

March 30, 2021

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions or the changes in travel as a result of Brexit, hasn’t deterred Brits from wanting to fly—with leisure travel making up over 80% of planned air travel.

  • Survey shows 90% of Brits intend to fly again, with over half planning trips in the next 12 months
  • European destinations top the list for UK travelers, with 65% undeterred by Brexit
  • British Airways and easyJet identified as UK public’s favorite airlines

LONDON, UK, March 30, 2021: A new survey from Cirium, an aviation analytics company, reveals that the UK is confident to fly again. The ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions or the changes in travel as a result of Brexit, hasn’t deterred Brits from wanting to fly—with leisure travel making up over 80% of planned air travel.

New! Download the full survey results 

UK travel is currently contending with the twin impact of COVID-19 and Brexit, yet the survey shows pent-up demand for travel and identifies key trends in the UK’s attitudes to flying again.

The majority of British travelers (90%) state that they intend to fly at some point in the future, with over half of them (54%) planning to take to the skies within the next 12 months.

Cirium survey reveals that UK confidence is high despite COVID-19 and Brexit.

A third (33%) of those planning to travel intend to book a month or less before their departure date, with 66% claiming they will book 1-3 months or more ahead—highlighting that the booking window remains volatile.

The survey reveals those likely to book at short notice are generally younger than those intending to book more in advance.

European destinations account for 60% of proposed flights from the UK—a significantly higher result than any other continent, suggesting a preference for short-haul flights.

In addition, 52% of UK travellers said they would be comfortable travelling to Australia, while around half would be at ease visiting Ireland (51%) and Canada (47%).

Meanwhile, only 11% expressed they would feel comfortable flying to China and India, while just 13% would consider a trip to South Africa.

Of those intending to travel, 81% will do so for leisure purposes—signalling a pent-up demand for holidays, while the return of corporate travel remains slow.

Unsurprisingly, Brits show a strong preference for UK airlines, with 36% identifying British Airways among their favourites, followed by easyJet in second place. Carriers including Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Ryanair and are also among the top choices.

Jeremy Bowen, Cirium CEO, said: “Cirium is committed to understanding the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on UK air travel, and supporting the industry to navigate the changing views of the British public about flying.

“The survey shows that people’s desire to travel remains incredibly resilient and pent-up demand bodes well for travel recommencing. It also helps clarify where the initial demand is likely to be, for example leisure travel from the UK to European destinations.

“This insight may help focus efforts to get UK travel up and running again. For example, providing reassurance for those travellers who are concerned with the extra measures in place for travelling to EU destinations in a post-Brexit world.”

The survey was carried out by independent market intelligence firm Thrive on behalf of Cirium, interviewing 2,105 adults across the UK between February 23 and 25, 2021.

For further information please visit and follow Cirium updates via LinkedIn and Twitter.

For media enquiries please contact:

Paul Charles / Michael Johnson / Balint Brunner at The PC Agency via or +44 207 768 0001

About Cirium
Cirium brings together powerful data and analytics to keep the world moving. Delivering insight, built from decades of experience in the sector, enabling travel companies, aircraft manufacturers, airports, airlines and financial institutions, among others, to make logical and informed decisions which shape the future of travel, growing revenues and enhancing customer experiences. Cirium is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The shares of RELX PLC are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.

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