Have you ever wondered about all the different people at the airport? Almost all of us have already flown: for going on holidays, visiting friends and family or going on a business trip. Likewise, many have been sitting at the airport, waiting at the gate and watching different passengers walking past. An airport is a melting pot where people of all ages, backgrounds, income levels and interests come together. As part of the DATASET2050 project, passenger characteristics are examined and six general passenger profiles (PAX profiles) are generated to gain an understanding of what distinguishes current European air travellers.
These PAX profiles are derived using existing passenger studies as well as data on demographical, geographical, socio-economic and behavioural aspects. At first, profiles are distinguished by travel purpose, i.e. whether passenger travel for personal or for business reasons. Since the amount of passengers travelling for private reasons exceeds that of passengers travelling for business reasons (on average across all EU28 + EFTA countries ten per cent business trips), there are four groups describing leisure passengers and two groups describing business travellers, as can be seen in the figure below. Following, passenger groups are assigned to pre-defined age intervals taken from an analysis of European countries as well as respective average travel activity within the particular age group.
Figure: PAX profiles according to travel purpose and age intervals with example profile information for “Executives”, “Family and Holiday Traveller” and “Best Agers” (own depiction based on PAX profile analysis)
All six passenger groups also differ by their income level. “Executives” have a high income; “Youngsters” have a low income and the remaining passenger groups have a medium income. Income alone has a great impact on travel budget and consequently on travel behaviour, i.e. how often someone is travelling or which transport mode is used to access the airport. Furthermore, the use of technical devices throughout the entire journey depends on age groups. Hence, all six passenger groups differ by the level of frequency in regard to mobile phone and internet usage. This translates to their booking and travelling behaviour as well. “Youngsters” and “Executives” are the two passenger groups using information and communication technologies (ICT) with a high frequency. “Youngsters”, for example, are digitally savvy and more likely to complete travel related tasks online compared to the group of “Best Agers”. Such processes along the journey could be online check-in or generating a boarding card on a mobile device.
The value of time also influences travel behaviour as passengers who value time a lot tend to save time along their journey and vice versa. Among all six PAX profiles, “Executives” and “Price-conscious Business Traveller” value time the most which is reflected, for instance, by their time-saving choice of hand luggage only. In contrast, “Youngsters” are young, often students or apprentices, and time rich but money poor. To compensate their low income, they tend to use public transport (often the longer access mode choice) to save money as they do not mind the additional time spent in public transport. “Family and Holiday Traveller” and “Best Agers” also have a rather low value of time.
The six passenger groups also differ by their length of stay. The trip length in terms of nights staying is another parameter influencing the amount of luggage a particular passenger is taking along the journey. The amount of nights spent at a particular destination differs both by travel purpose and by type of journey conducted. Business travellers tend to spend fewer nights per trip than leisure passengers. And “Youngsters” visiting friends in urban centres spend less nights than “Family and Holiday Traveller” on their summer vacation. In turn, this may influence the access mode selected, the time spent in luggage check-in processes, or during luggage collection at the destination airport. For instance, in order to minimize time and effort accrued to respective handling processes, business passengers reduce the amount of luggage taken along. Finally, it is important to mention that one person can be assigned to several PAX profiles. A manager of an international company can travel for business purposes (being assigned to the group of “Executives”) and in private life being a dad and flying with his wife and two children into the summer vacation (being a “Family and Holiday Traveller”).
More information on the PAX profiles and the analysis can be found in the DATASET2050 report “Data driven approach for a Seamless Efficient Travelling in 2050”.