New research shows strong appetite for air travel but concerns remain over border closures

The Northern Beaches COVID cluster has reinforced new research commissioned by the Australian Airports Association (AAA) which shows more than half of Australians willing to travel interstate are discouraged from booking airfares due to the risk of sudden border closures rather than the potential health risks.

AAA Chief Executive James Goodwin said the research was conducted between 14-18 December 2020, in the week of the virus flare up in Sydney.

“Our research shows there is a very strong appetite for interstate domestic travel right across Australia but as we’ve seen with this latest outbreak, concerns remain over sudden border closures,” Mr Goodwin said.

“The lack of confidence around border controls is the largest hinderance to air travel with more than half (52%) of the respondents discouraged from booking travel too far in advance because of this risk. Residents in Tasmania (64%) and South Australia (61%) had the highest concerns about having their travel plans disrupted.”

Mr Goodwin said the survey found most Australians were comfortable adhering to a range of COVID-19 risk mitigation measures with four in five respondents saying they’d wear a facemask during domestic air travel.

“Less than half of intending travellers were concerned by potential health risks (45%).”

Seven in 10 people said they would be more confident flying domestically if facemasks were mandatory.

“The research shows facemasks are a useful tool for addressing some of the perceived barriers to travel,” Mr Goodwin said.

“It is clear Australian travellers need clarity from state and territory governments to give them the confidence to make travel plans. A better coordinated, unified and consistent approach to controlling domestic borders is needed.”

The AAA commissioned survey was completed by a sample of 500 Australians between 14-18 December 2020, who have travelled by aircraft over the past few years.

For more survey data, please view the graphics in the PDF below.


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