AIB data shows spending on airline travel increased by over 30% last month
It appears people are considering travelling by plane once again.
Spending on airline travel increased by 32% in March compared to February, according to AIB's latest Spend Trend report, released on Wednesday.
Based on data compiled from AIB debit and credit card spending during March, the report showed that airline travel was the sector that saw the second-highest increase, the first being hardware stores and garden centres, where spending had risen by 38%.
As more businesses reopened for takeaway service, meanwhile, pubs and off-licences saw the third-highest increase, with a 30% rise.
While AIB note that airline spend does not necessarily mean travel happened that month - with people perhaps booking for later dates - it does seem to indicate that people are actively thinking about flying again.
However, the bank also highlighted that overall, spend in the sectors mentioned above is still down when compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Head of SME Banking at AIB Rachel Naughton said: “It’s encouraging to see spend in some of the key consumer sectors up in March, following good weather, St Patrick’s Day and the rollout of the vaccine."
She added that over the coming months as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues and more information is unveiled on the easing of current restrictions, it is expected consumers will start spending more of the money they may have been saving during lockdown.
The AIB Spend Trend report also showed that spending by those over 65 was up 20% as the good weather and vaccine effects took hold.
Card spend was up 14% during the month, with online spending rising by 9% and in-store spending increasing by 20%.
The busiest day for in-store spending was Saturday, 13 March, the weekend before St Patrick’s Day, with consumers seemingly stocking up in advance.