Tackling trends of door-to-door air travel in the European market

  • Door-to-door (D2D) air travel is gaining momentum for airlines, airports, and feeder traffic providers. The mobility industry and researchers are broadening their scope to include the entire travel chain, from origin to final destination. Intermodal mobility products are already on the market. At the same time, widespread trends affect transport service providers (as the suppliers) and passengers (regarding demand). Acquiring a better understanding of future D2D air travel trends is crucial for the mobility sector for long-term planning, product adaptation, the services provided and the pricing of these, and improvements in the passenger experience. Focusing on the European market, the overall objective of this doctoral thesis is to identify and understand the future trends of D2D air travel. It is divided into three parts; these provide different perspectives on trends and employ a range of methods that lead to results that develop from each other. In Part One, the Delphi technique is utilized to identify future travel trends. The study considers projections of European air passengers and their requirements for their entire air travel chain, including airport access, a long-haul flight, and airport egress. The research focuses on 2035 and is based on a two-round Delphi survey involving 38 experts from the transport industry, academia, and consultants. The Delphi survey is supplemented with findings from a preliminary study, consisting of a literature review, interviews with 18 experts in the field of air travel, and a workshop attended by experts. Results reveal that digitalization and personalization will be the main drivers in 2035 and that passengers might demand value-added use of their travel time. In addition, environmentally friendly travel products are considered desirable but only somewhat probable by 2035. Passenger type, age, origins, and travel budget will still be influential factors in 2035. Based on the results from a hierarchical cluster analysis, Part One presents three possible future scenarios: (1) personalized D2D travel, (2) integrated D2D travel, and (3) the game-changer. A technical chapter elaborates on the Delphi technique and individual research steps. Part Two explores the supply aspect and to what extent transport service providers consider strategically relevant trends. The scope of D2D air travel is adapted by applying multi-labeled text classification models to 52 corporate reports from a sample of transport service providers that operate in the European market. Trends identified in the first Delphi study and from an additional literature review are used to develop seven classes. Two prototype models are developed: a dictionary-based classifier and a supervised learning model using the multinomial naive Bayes and linear support vector machine classifiers. The latter yields the best model output, revealing which trends have a higher, medium, or lower relevance on the supply side. The results show that providers consider environmentally friendly air transport and related products to be highly relevant while disruption management, leveraging passengers’ data, and improving airport feeder traffic through innovative mobility initiatives are considered to be of medium relevance. Part Three explores air passengers’ preferences and willingness to pay for ancillary services in the current transition into the new normal, brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, high uncertainty, and changing market dynamics. A choice-based conjoint analysis is used to test six attributes within a hypothetical travel scenario for a long-haul one-way air trip. Choice data from 269 German business and leisure passengers are analyzed using a hierarchical Bayes estimator. Results reveal that the total ancillary service upgrade price influences passengers’ choices the most, followed by a seat upgrade for greater comfort and the CO2-compensation of a flight. Hygiene-related ancillaries bring low utilities. Female and senior passengers care more for environmentally friendly ancillaries. Confirming previous research, business passengers and frequent flyers care more for onboard comfort.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar Statistics
Author:Ulrike Schmalz
Publisher:WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Place of publication:Vallendar
Referee:Stefan Spinler, Arnd Huchzermeier, Jürgen Ringbeck
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2022/08/18
Date of first Publication:2022/08/18
Publishing Institution:WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Granting Institution:WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Date of final exam:2022/05/23
Release Date:2022/08/18
Tag:Luftverkehr; Mobilität
Air traffic; Mobility
Page Number:166
Institutes:WHU Supply Chain Management Group / Kühne Foundation Endowed Chair of Logistics Management
Licence (German):Copyright this PhD thesis