Oxford Bus Company Airline usage at 75% of pre-pandemic

Oxford Bus Company Airline coach and MD Phil Southall

Patronage on the Oxford Bus Company Airline service to Heathrow and Gatwick airports has returned to 75% of pre-pandemic levels, the Go-Ahead Group subsidiary has announced.

It says that airport-related demand has shown “a steady increase” since all entry restrictions were removed, and expects Airline patronage to grow further as international travel gains momentum and the summer holiday season arrives. The frequency of services to Gatwick is planned to rise from the current two-hourly before that peak period.

The operator has also improved its digital booking horizon in response to customer feedback. Customers can now purchase Airline tickets at least 11 months in advance, in line with air travel booking arrangements.

Says Oxford Bus Company Managing Director Phil Southall (pictured): “Since travel restrictions were removed, we have seen our patronage increase by around 50% and it continues to grow.

“Should that trend continue, we hope to be able to increase the frequency of our services to Gatwick Airport soon. We have invested in our digital booking technology to help passengers to plan their journeys, and they can now book tickets at least 11 months in advance.

“Furthermore, if their flights or airports change, our driver team is empowered to offer suitable alternative options on board the coach.”

Growth seen by Oxford Bus Company on Airline echoes that reported by National Express (NX) on its scheduled coach services to airports. NX saw a 40% month-on-month rise there in March and it reported that on Good Friday, airport routes radiating from London approached pre-pandemic levels of demand.