Updated: Fewer than half of passengers think aviation sector is ready for summer

Fewer than half of passengers planning to travel this year think airports and airlines are ready for their summer getaway plans, according to a Civil Aviation Authority poll.

The aviation watchdog said 45% of those surveyed believe that the industry is prepared for the busy summer period, with 40% having experienced some form of disruption in the last year.

The most common cause of disruption reported were delays (31%), followed by 13% of consumers affected by cancellations, and nearly 9% affected by strikes or having their luggage lost or damaged (7%).

Less than half (45%) reported that such disruption has not affected their future summer plans.

The CAA said it is engaging with industry on preparations for the summer, to make sure any challenges are “mitigated by the sector’s continued resilience”.

Rob Bishton, CAA chief executive, said: “As part of our mission to protect people and enable aerospace, we continue to engage with airports and airlines to see how they are preparing ahead of busy periods, and it is positive to see that their efforts are resonating with consumers.”

He made his comments during a visit to Stansted where he met Ken O’Toole, chief executive of Manchester Airport Group – the parent of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports.

“Passenger numbers are continuing to return to pre-pandemic levels, and Stansted airport’s improvements to both capacity and service are an example of how the aviation industry is increasing resilience in the face of the resurgence of travel,” said Bishton.

O’Toole added: “MAG is committed to working with partners across government and the aviation industry to deliver better outcomes for the passengers, communities, and regions we serve.”

The survey also found that nearly two thirds (64%) of respondents had knowledge of at least some rights in the case of flight delays or cancellations, with 18% knowing exactly what their rights are.

Fewer than half (46%) said they have some knowledge about their rights, but are not completely certain about all the details.

The regulator recently launched its ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign to encourage consumers to learn about their rights and be prepared in the event of future disruption.

Which? policy and advocacy director Rocio Concha said: “The Civil Aviation Authority’s findings are damning, but also a fair reflection of the low opinion travellers have of airlines and airports following years of disruption and poor treatment.

“Frequent flight cancellations and disregard for passenger rights on refunds, rerouting and compensation have become the norm for some airlines that know they face few, if any consequences, for their behaviour.

“As the countdown to the next election begins, the next government must prioritise empowering the CAA with the authority to impose appropriate fines and ensure accountability for airlines that flout regulations. Without these measures in place, certain airlines will continue to disregard the rights of UK travellers with impunity.”

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