Airports Council International: Half of passengers want to travel again soon

6 Nov 2020 by Hannah Brandler
Passenger airplane taking off at sunset -

Airports Council International – the global trade representative of the world’s airport authorities – has published the ASQ Global Traveller Survey, revealing that 48 per cent of travellers considered themselves likely to travel within the next three months.

The report is designed to “help airports plan for future demand – in the short, medium, and long term – and to adapt customer experience accordingly”. While the findings are promising, the survey added that the recovery of air travel is reliant on airports and airlines imposing measures to address health and safety risks.

Surveyed travellers cited the following measures as important: mandatory mask-wearing, Covid-19 testing prior to travel, the installation of hand sanitising stations, and contactless experiences in airports.

The report also found that an overall slight decrease in travel frequency is expected in the long term, and that business travel will be replaced by people travelling for personal reasons. ACI added that this would have an impact on the proportion of traffic type and that domestic traffic would help recovery in the short term.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General, said:

“One of the keys to recovery will be the aviation industry’s understanding of the changing needs of passengers and ACI’s new survey provides insight into how COVID-19 is affecting passenger expectations and future travel plans.

“It is reassuring that travellers are eager to travel again and our survey will help airports make the right decisions in providing the best and safest customer experience. Airports, airlines and their partners need to continue to increase the level of confidence in the entire passenger journey and provide and communicate the measures they are introducing to keep passenger healthy and safe. ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation programme provides airports with not only a tool to assess their health measures against globally-recognized standards but also a way to communicate to passengers about these measures.”

The report was sponsored by Kone Corporation, Munich Airport International, Plaza Premium Group, and Potloc.

US consumer confidence in travel

Meanwhile, a study from global analytics firm Gallup highlighted a dramatic loss of US consumer confidence in air travel, with 68 per cent of US travellers stating that they will not board a plane for at least the next six months and 54 per cent avoiding hotels for the same period of time.

The study was conducted over June and July and found that respondents were concerned about exposure to coronavirus on aeroplanes (82 per cent), when travelling through the airport (77 per cent), and in hotels (63 per cent).

Gallup said that the concerns are largely driven by a lack of trust in fellow travellers. Among business travellers with no plans to travel in the next six months, 50 per cent said they wouldn’t trust fellow hotel guests to follow hygiene and safety policies, while this was higher amongst leisure travellers (56 per cent).

Faith in travel increased when respondents were asked about measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and screening, with 75 per cent of people stating that such initiatives would make them more likely to travel and fly. Furthermore, the survey found that customers were more likely to fly or stay in a hotel if they had a good reputation – 80 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.

Marco Nink, Regional Lead Research and Analytics EMEA at Gallup, commented:

“Consumer confidence in the travel and hospitality sectors has been hammered by the coronavirus. While travel restrictions and quarantine policies are having the most influence at the moment, there are steps airlines, airports and hotels can be taking to restore consumer confidence.

“A key factor is that travellers don’t trust their fellow passengers and guests. As well as being meticulous about hygiene and cleaning, airlines, airports and hotels should be communicating all that they are doing. And as well as following the recommendations on masks and distancing, airlines, airports and hotels should be enforcing these measures. These steps, more than cheaper flights and rooms, can bolster consumer confidence and bring more passengers and guests back to the travel sector sooner.”

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