Flying critical to wellbeing of third of Australians

  • 37 per cent of Australians view flying as critical to their wellbeing
  • Lockdowns have reignited a passion for travel, with 35 per cent of Australians expecting to fly more for holiday and leisure than pre-pandemic.
  • Flight is a key tool for maintaining social connections, with more than four in five Australians flying to visit friends and family.

More than one in three Australians view flying as critical to their wellbeing, the first national survey of air travel consumer sentiment by industry safety provider Airservices Australia has shown.

A report on the survey findings, Airservices Travel Sentiment Index 2023: From locked down to sky high, shows Australians are itching to get back in the air after three years of Pandemic-led disruptions.

CEO of Airservices Australia Jason Harfield said the survey findings were a timely reminder of the importance of air travel not only to the economic lifeblood of the country, but to people's lives in general.

"We have long understood our role as an essential service critical to the safe operation of the Australian air industry; these findings really confirm for us how essential that service is to the wellbeing of so many Australians,'' Mr Harfield said.

The Ipsos-conducted survey of a representative sample of 1000 Australians shows that more than a third (37%) of survey participants believe air travel is essential to their wellbeing. Younger people (45% aged 18-29, 49% aged 30-39) are even more likely to rank being able to fly as essential to their wellbeing.

"The lockdowns appear to have reignited a passion for travel, with 35% of respondents expecting to fly more for holiday and leisure than they did pre-pandemic," Mr Harfield said. "Fewer than 5% of the population expect to fly less."

Australians under 30 are among the most eager to be flying again, with 82% planning at least one or more international trips in the next 12 months. For domestic travel, the figure is 71%.

When asked what they missed about air travel during lockdowns, the reason given most often was exploring new places (52%) but connecting with family and friends was prominent.

When asked, only 19% of people said they don't ever fly for the purpose of visiting friends. This number drops to 16% for visiting family.

The data also shows why flying is such an important social connector, with 69% of Australians having family or friends living in a different state or territory from them, and 58% having family or friends overseas.

Mr Harfield said Airservices, which manages Australia's air traffic controllers and aviation rescue firefighters, intends to use the data conducted from the extensive survey to support engagement with air travellers, community groups and industry stakeholders such as the airline industry and airports.

"At Airservices, our mission is to provide safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services that connect the aviation industry with the community," he said.

"Understanding the emerging trends that will shape the aviation industry in the future will help us with our partners to respond innovatively to the challenges that lie ahead."

"Given just how important air travel has become to so many Australians, this mission has never been more critical."


This is the first instalment in what is intended to be an annual index of Australian air traveller sentiment. The data above is a small slice of the full dataset, which also explores:

  • air travel frequency
  • main concerns and frustrations with air travel
  • attitudes towards air travel and the aviation industry in Australia
  • how Australians think about air travel and sustainability
  • opinions on drones and other emerging technologies.

To dive deeper, view the full Airservices Travel Sentiment Index 2023: From locked down to sky high report here, or contact to Airservices to discuss accessing more of the dataset.


Australians intending to fly next 12 months domestically: 68%

Flew last 12 months: 49%

Australians intending to fly next 12 months internationally: 59%

Flew last 12 months: 25%

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