Ageing Air Passengers: Supporting inclusion within the air transport door-to-door journey | AirTransport & AirTraffic Management Research Group

Anne Graham

Graham,A., Kremarik, F. and Kruse,W. (2020).‘Attitudes of Ageing Passengers to Air Travel Since the Coronavirus Pandemic’, Journal of Air Transport Management, 87, pp.101865-6. (doi: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2020.101865)

Improved standards of living, nutrition and medical treatment are extending human life expectancy and enhancing quality of life with the result that an increasing number of ageing passengers were travelling by air (up until 2019). This ‘grey boom’ can present certain demands on providers of air transport and airport surface access, and a thorough understanding of these is crucial to ensure that inclusive policies and practices are used to enable ageing passengers to be given equal opportunities to fly as others, and to encourage well-being and mobility for all within an urban context. This is particularly important looking forward given that this age group has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Hence the aim of the research was to develop an understanding of inclusivity and ageing travellers in relation to the air transport door-to-door journey. Two online surveys of 1,200 65+ aged UK residents were undertaken in June and September 2020. A key focus of the first survey was on attitudes to air travel since the coronavirus pandemic, with the findings (published in a journal article) having various implications, ranging from the use of self- service technology, the generation of commercial/ancillary airport revenues and the design of surface access policies. The subsequent online survey was primarily focused on surface access issues before and since the coronavirus pandemic. A key finding was that the most important factors affecting the choice of surface access transport were ease of undertaking the journey and its overall comfort, rather than its price. In November thirteen in-depth qualitative inter views were under taken to further explore issues identified in the two surveys.

This research has been funded by Westminster’s Sustainable Cities and the Urban Environment Research Community (jointly with the Diversity and Inclusion Research Community) and it is intended that it will inform a much larger research project in this area.