A new generation of business traveller

The DATASET2050 project does not only examine current European passenger profiles but also looks at possible passenger types in 2035 and 2050. To develop future demand profiles, current ones are either adjusted (see Current European PAX profiles), or new profiles are developed. As there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding how we are going to live and travel in the future, and since the project follows a data-driven approach, only passenger characteristics that can be supported by data are taken into consideration. Examples for developments supported by data are the ageing population in Europe, the increase in single households and the tendency to have fewer children per household.

For 2035, six future passenger profiles for the EU28 and EFTA countries are developed. Among these, the Digital Native Business Traveller was identified as one of the main passenger types in Europe. This group takes a journey mainly for occupational reasons and it can be seen as the new generation of business traveller. However, due to the high usage of technological devices one can assume that this passenger type is constantly connected and always online in continuous digital exchange with the private life, friends and family. He or she will be in the typically age of the working population of around 24 to 64 years, which today represents the digital savvy Generation Y and Generation Z. The income level and amount for transport expenditure will be medium to high. 0.5 to 1.5 trips per capita per year are taken, either alone or accompanied by another person. A large share of this passenger type will be female as the increase in female tertiary education enrolments might lead to an increase in working women within higher professions and hence an increase in women travelling for business purposes. Finally, he or she does not mind checking in luggage but takes only hand luggage when going on short trips. Public transport, taxi or car sharing are the preferred airport access mode choices.


Figure: The new generation of business traveller is digital savvy and constantly connected, enabled by emerging technology and new innovations to come.

This is one example of how a typical passenger group in 2035 could possibly look like. The outcome of all passenger demand profiles will be put in contrast with coming work packages (i.e. future supply profile), enabling this way a complete assessment on the European door-to-door mobility in the future. More information about the remaining passenger types, the methodology and databases can be found in the report on future passenger profiles.

Passengers’ environmental awareness and travel behaviour

Passengers’ travel behaviour can be influenced by various factors, such as disposable income, travel purpose, age group or technological affinity (see also #blogpost7 Passengers expectations: door-to-door travel and beyond). One of these influential factors is the environmental awareness of passengers and in which way it impacts – or even alters – travel behaviour.

Air transportation emits greenhouse gases and hence has a potential harmful effect on our environment in the form of CO2 emissions, for example. Passengers contribute to this by their choice of means of transport, their choice of holiday destinations and kilometres travelled (Cohen and Higham, 2011; Brouwer et al., 2008).

Overall, air travel passengers seem to have a basic understanding of the environmental impact and many also have pro-environmental values. However, according to several studies it does not result into behaviour changes of passengers yet. It is hence not a factor influencing their holiday planning, the choice of a destination and the type of transportation (Hares et al., 2009; Böhler et al., 2006). Research also reveals that the willingness of passengers to pay for carbon offsetting schemes, one possibility to neutralize emissions generated by one’s own journey without compromising the means of transport or influencing the decision on holiday destinations, is low as well (Eijgelaar, 2009; Mair, 2011).

The three main barriers towards pro-environmental behaviour change are a lack of alternative transport systems, the high value of holidays with the freedom to travel to every destination one wants, and the lack of feeling personal responsibility for climate change (Hares et al., 2009; Böhler et al., 2006). However, within some recent studies, evidence emerged showing an increasingly pro-environmental awareness in passengers’ mind-set and a willingness to actually change air travel behaviour in the future (Cohen and Higham, 2011; Gössling et al., 2009).

To sum up, environmental awareness among passengers seems to be already present but does not lead to current behaviour changes. This, among other factors, will be explored within DATASET2050 and it will be modelled how such drivers influence the travel demand of air transport passengers in the future.



  • Böhler, S., Grischkat, S., Haustein, S. and Hunecke, M., 2006. Encouraging environmentally sustainable holiday travel. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 40(8), 652-670.
  • Brouwer, R., Brander, L. and Van Beukering, P., 2008, “A convenient truth”: air travel passengers‟ willingness to pay to offset their CO2 emissions, Climatic Change, 90(3), 299-313.
  • Cohen, S.A. and Higham, J.E., 2011, Eyes wide shut? UK consumer perceptions on aviation climate impacts and travel decisions to New Zealand, Current Issues in Tourism, 14(4), 323-335.
  • Eijgelaar, E., 2009, Voluntary carbon offsets a solution for reducing tourism emissions? Assessment of communication aspects and mitigation potential, Transport and Tourism: Challenges, Issues and Conflicts, 46-64.
  • Gössling, S., Haglund, L., Kallgren, H., Revahl, M. and Hultman, J., 2009, Swedish air travellers and voluntary carbon offsets: towards the co-creation of environmental value?, Current Issues in Tourism, 12(1), 1-19.
  • Hares, A., Dickinson, J. and Wilkes, K., 2009, Climate change and the air travel decisions of UK tourists. Journal of Transport Geography, 18(3), 466-473.
  • Mair, J., 2011, Exploring air travellers‟ voluntary carbon-offsetting behavior, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(2), 215-230.

Connect with us!