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At a glance

  • 45 per cent of consumers surveyed by the Civil Aviation Authority believe that the industry is prepared for the busy summer period.
  • The regulator has reiterated its message to industry that it is important to work together to keep passenger disruption to a minimum in the coming busy periods. 
  • Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority, Rob Bishton, also visited Stansted airport, to meet with Manchester Airport Group’s Chief Executive Ken O’Toole.

Nearly half of passengers planning to travel this year think airports and airlines are ready for their summer getaway plans, according to a survey by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Ken O'Toole and Rob Bishton standing together in a glass entryway overlooking a plane taking off in the distance at Stansted airport.
Manchester Airport Group's Chief Executive, Ken O'Toole (left), and Civil Aviation Authority Chief Executive, Rob Bishton (right).

45 per cent of those surveyed believe that the industry is prepared for the busy summer period, despite 40 per cent having experienced some form of disruption in the last year.

The most common cause of disruption reported were delays (31 per cent), followed by 13 per cent of consumers affected by cancellations, and nearly 1 in 10 (9 per cent) affected by strikes or having their luggage lost or damaged (7 per cent).

However, nearly half (45 per cent) reported that such disruption has not affected their future summer plans.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority continues to engage with industry on preparations for the summer, to make sure any challenges are mitigated by the sector’s continued resilience, delivering a positive experience for fare-paying passengers.

Reacting to the polling, the Civil Aviation Authority's Chief Executive Rob Bishton also reiterated this message, and on a visit to Stansted Airport, heard how the industry was committed to working together - and with the regulator - to plan ahead to keep passenger disruption to a minimum.

As part of the visit, he met Manchester Airport Group’s Chief Executive Ken O’Toole, who set out the ways the airport is investing in improving passenger experience in the short, medium, and long term.

 The visit also served as an opportunity to tour the airport terminal and hear about London Stansted’s plans to grow in the years ahead, continuing to provide better choice and value to passengers.

The regulator's visit came after Stansted set an annual passenger record of 28.5 million passengers this month, with parent company MAG reporting an overall rise in numbers.

Rob Bishton, CEO of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, 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.

“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.”

Ken O’Toole, Chief Executive of Manchester Airport Group, said:

“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. 

“It was a pleasure to meet with Rob and outline our ambitious plans for London Stansted, Manchester, and East Midlands Airports, and the role they will play in providing easy, accessible, and affordable air travel for people up and down the country in the years ahead.”

The survey also found that nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of respondents had knowledge of at least some rights in the case of flight delays or cancellations, with almost 1 in 5 (18 per cent) knowing exactly what their rights are.

46 per cent said they have some knowledge about their rights, but are not completely certain about all the details, highlighting the importance of continuing to ensure consumers are informed ahead of potential future disruption.

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.

Notes to editors
  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s aviation and aerospace regulator. We work to protect people and enable aerospace in the UK.
  • Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is a leading UK airport group, owning and operating three UK airports – Manchester, London Stansted, and East Midlands.
  • On behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority, Savanta conducted an online survey of 1,000 UK adults in April 2024. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of all UK adults by age, gender, region, and social grade.
  • As part of the survey, about a quarter (24 per cent) reported that they believe airports and airlines are not prepared for their summer travel plans this year, with those who experienced air travel disruption last year more likely to say so (38 per cent, versus 12 per cent of those who didn’t experience air travel disruption last year). 31 per cent are unsure of whether airports and airlines are prepared for their summer travel plans this year.