Travel trends for 2021 show desire for nonstops in COVID-19 world

February 18, 2021

Passengers are avoiding hubs and seeking nonstops in the COVID-19 world according to new data from OAG.

In a new report using airline scheduled data from the past 12 months, OAG found that;

  • Domestic travel is recovering faster than international air travel
  • Passengers actively avoid hub airports for some time, preferring non-stop flights
  • Leisure travel and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) may come back faster than business travel
  • Younger people may have a greater appetite for risk and therefore be more willing to travel than older people
  • Some corporate travel may not return at all as companies continue to use virtual meeting technology to replace face-to-face meetings
  • A vaccine will go a long way to restoring confidence in air travel but will take time to roll out
  • The economic impact of the pandemic will affect disposable incomes and should be expected to reduce demand for air travel
  • Some airlines may not survive but there will be opportunities for new entrants and the potential for industry disruption.

The OAG said that the current COVID “shock’ is different from previous upsets such as the GFC and 9/11.

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“It may be longer-lasting, and the immediate impact has certainly been far more wide-reaching. No part of the globe is unaffected and the fact that nations have imposed restrictions on who crosses their borders has a very fundamental effect on air travel.

“The issues currently faced go beyond either supply-side issues or a drop in demand; some potential passengers are simply unable to travel and many airlines are making tough choices about what to operate given the rapid need to cut costs,” said the report authored by Becca Rowland.

The report added that there were widespread cancellations as demand failed to materialise thus “further damaging relationships with customers whose flights would be cancelled.”

OAG has developed new tools to help airlines understand these trends.