Impact of Perceptions and Attitudes on Air Travel Choices in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Cross-National Analysis of Stated Preference Data
31 Pages Posted: 12 May 2022
Date Written: November 1, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent travel restrictions have had an unprecedented impact on the air travel market. However, a rigorous analysis of the potential role of safety perceptions and attitudes towards COVID-19 interventions on future air passenger choices has been lacking to date. To investigate this matter, 1469 individuals were interviewed between April and September 2020 in four multi-airport cities (London, New York City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai). The core analysis draws upon data from a set of stated preference (SP) experiments in which respondents were asked to reflect on a hypothetical air travel journey taking place when travel restrictions are lifted but there is still a risk of infection. The hybrid choice model results show that alongside traditional attributes, such as fare, duration and transfer, attitudinal and safety perception factors matter to air passengers when making future air travel choices. The cross-national analysis points towards differences in responses across the cities to stem from culturally-driven attitudes towards interpersonal distance and personal space. We also report the willingness to pay for travel attributes under the expected future conditions and discuss post-pandemic implications for the air travel sector, including video-conferencing as a substitute for air travel.
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