Today we’ve released the fifth edition of our Aviation Index research study, digging into the UK public’s views and attitudes to aviation.
Each year we work with the experts at Ipsos to ask a representative sample of the UK population what they think about a whole range of aviation related topics. From worries about climate change and aircraft noise, through to the factors that go into choosing an airport or airline and much more.
When we started the Aviation Index back in 2018, we thought it would be a valuable way of tracking public perceptions and how they might change over time. That helps us understand what’s important to our customers and what people think about vital projects like airspace modernisation. Now with five years’ worth of data I hope it is fulfilling that role, but what we didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic that saw the industry largely grounded for the best part of two years.
As such, the Aviation Index also offers a snapshot of views before, during and now after events that have been unparalleled in the lives of most of us. Has covid changed how people feel about flying? Not just the impact of things like quarantine and vaccine passports, but the desire and confidence to fly as the world now emerges? Demand this summer certainly tends to indicate people have missed the freedom that flying offers.
Beyond Covid, the industry’s response to the existential threat of climate change also comes under the microscope. Most people believe emissions reduction must be the top priority for the aviation industry. At 62%, this is twice as much as the next listed priority. There is also appetite for prioritising investment in greener technology such as fully electric or hydrogen powered commercial aircraft.
Interestingly, there remains a ‘say-do’ gap in terms of what people say they are willing to do to lessen their climate impact and what they are actually doing, with very much the onus being placed on the industry – as it should – to take the lead. Projects like airspace modernisation are key to that.
Fundamentally, this year’s Aviation Index is a reminder that despite the industry’s current challenges, the majority of people still love to fly, want to continue to do so and see aviation as an important part of their lives and the economy.
It’s incumbent on us as an industry to ensure they can continue to do so in a way that’s safe, efficient and ultimately sustainable.
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