Ash impact not as bad on flight bookings as first thought
April 28th, 2010 by elisa

Only one in ten people are considering postponing a planned holiday as a result of the volcanic ash crisis which grounded European flights for five days.

Almost half (46%) of people said that the airspace closure had not put them off flying to their summer holiday destination this year, new research shows. The media hype around the damage that the recent disruption has had on future airline bookings appears unfounded, according to TNS RI Travel & Tourism which questioned 1,010 people on the issue.

The study also found that 20% of people had to cancel or change business trips because they could not fly into or out of the UK. Despite this, only 16% will consider alternative means of transport for future business trips.

The study found that almost three million British adults were directly affected by the closure of UK airports. More than a third (34%) of people interviewed said that they or a family member were unable to return home from a holiday on a scheduled date, while a quarter had to cancel or postpone their holiday because they could not depart. Despite this, most travellers (60%) accept that the Government’s flight ban decision, based on the advice of the national Air Traffic Services, was the right course of action.

Tom Costley, Head of TNS RI Travel & Tourism, said: “This data highlights the significant impact that the ash crisis had on travellers in Britain. There is continued uncertainty over the extent of the impact on taking flights and overseas trips for the rest of 2010, although it is interesting to see that the majority of travellers will not let the situation influence their future plans.

“The speed of recovery to ‘normal travel patterns’ will obviously be heavily influenced by whether the emissions from the volcano result in any further closures in coming weeks.”

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