According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data published by City AM, the seven-day average number of UK flights was down 49% in the week commencing 10 January 2022, when compared to flight numbers in the same week of 2020.
One of the main reasons for the low volume of air traffic is the reintroduction of many international travel restrictions and testing requirements since the discovery of the Omicron variant in November 2021.
While some of these restrictions have been relaxed in the UK, that is not yet the case in many countries across the world. As such, the rebound of the travel industry has been much more gradual than many had expected or hoped.
Susannah Street, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that these figures show how “turbulence is continuing” for the industry.
Despite this, the sector is showing signs of life, especially compared to the winter of 2021 when the country was in full lockdown. The number of flights between 10 and 16 January 2022 was two-and-a-half times higher than during the same period in 2021.
Travel stocks and shares have been popular with investors hoping for a strong recovery
Towards the end of 2021, stocks and shares in the travel industry were gaining popularity, especially since many predicted a sharp rise for the sector in 2022.
Interactive Investor released a list of its most sought-after stocks in December 2021, with technology and travel topping the list as the most attractive themes.
Rolls-Royce, one of the largest manufacturers of commercial airline engines, and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) were both in the top 10 for most-bought stocks.
Other financial institutions have also recommended travel stocks to retail investors. eToro has named Rolls-Royce and Spirit Airlines as two of their top five stock picks this year. Similarly, Andy Bell, CEO and founder of AJ Bell, has tipped easyJet to be a stock to watch in 2022.