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The Future of Air Travel: What is the Purpose of Reconsidering Airports and Air Travel?

This article is part of our five-day series, “The Future of Air Travel,” with COX Director David Holm.

The way people travel is changing, and as a result, the airports must adapt in tandem.

Over the course of the pandemic, Zoom and Teams made a huge impact on the way we talk to our friends and family, and the way we do business. With these tools now in the palms of our hands, we think people will reduce short stay travel. For example, flying from Sydney to Melbourne for a one-day meeting is likely a concept of the past.

Further to this, travel requires more organisation than ever before. Because of the added stress of filling out additional paperwork, longer wait times at check-in, and increased risk of contracting COVID, this too will likely impact people’s choices to go on short-term trips.

But David does not think this will last.

“Particularly when it comes to business, we know that Zoom and Teams can work, but it will never replace that eye-to-eye ‘breaking of bread.’ We recently had all of our Directors get together in Adelaide, and after years of not being able to get together as a group, the agenda honestly came second to connecting as humans. Electronica won’t delete travel – we just need to make sure the spaces that facilitate travel understand the shift in our world.”

One way to help this is reducing transits, David says.

(Newcastle Airport, pictured above.)

“Transits can be seen as a potential risk in today’s air travel – opening travellers up to more exposure and adding another layer of complexity. By increasing flight routes, and reducing multiple transits, convenience in air travel will return. In the past, a stop over could be seen as an opportunity, but now it is a hindrance.”

“Airport design is now about so much more than just the terminal itself; it touches all modes of transport. We need to design airports with the full journey in mind – with the journey from home to terminal, terminal to plane, plane to taxi, taxi to destination and back again as simple as possible.”

So, the purpose of reconsidering airports and airports?

“Well, the world around us has changed. And in turn – this industry must too. If the way we holiday, work and experience life is different, then the spaces that facilitate this will naturally follow suit.”

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