Easyjet said searches for flights and holidays have increased by 200% as it emerged that UK-wide restrictions would be eased over Christmas.
The carrier noted a significant rise in demand for December flights with domestic bookings from London and Bristol to Belfast, and from London to Edinburgh, among the most popular.
There has also been an upturn in searches for travel in the spring and summer as people make plans for 2021, seen as likely to have been boosted by hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine roll-out over coming months.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said UK domestic flight bookings were “proving popular for those looking to visit friends and family over December”.
“We know underlying demand is there, which we see every time travel restrictions are lifted,” he added.
Easyjet’s figures compared the number of searches for Monday to Wednesday of this week with the same three days last week.
The airline, with the wider aviation sector, has been hit hard by the pandemic – axing thousands of jobs and last week reporting a £1.27bn annual loss.
However even as it reported that loss it revealed that bookings had been growing sharply in the wake of recent announcements about vaccine trials.
Meanwhile, rule changes mean that from the middle of next month, passengers arriving from countries with high coronavirus case numbers will be able to shorten their quarantine from 14 days if they take a negative test – at their own expense – after five days.
While the change was seen as a step forward by the industry, critics such as Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said it would be better to allow for tests to be carried out before departures from those foreign countries.
Mr O’Leary, an outspoken critic of the government’s policy response to the pandemic, accused ministers of “mismanagement” and failing to listen to the industry.
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