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what is their relationship with the plane?

The Pégase Chair is dedicated to the economics and management of air transport and aerospace. Attached to Montpellier Business School, its ambition is to strengthen the links between the academic world and businesses in the air and aerospace sectors. A few days ago, she released a very enlightening report entitled: “Generation Z and air transport: what differences between 15-24 year olds and the rest of the French population? »

The report examines in depth the expectations and behavior of Generation Z, those young people aged 15 to 24, with regard to the plane. A population that will represent a growing share of the population and air passengers, and which is therefore of interest to players in the sector.

Social networks and YouTube

So what does this report say? As citizens, the study by the Pégase Chair shows that young French people are less interested (36%) than their elders (41%) in air and space.

Generation Z mainly uses social networks (75%) and YouTube (63%) to follow the news of these sectors, thus posing two challenges for aviation and space players. On the one hand, the questioning of the traditional channels used by these actors to communicate; on the other hand, the question of the quality and veracity of the information consumed by young people.

A generation that flies less

If overall 42% of 15-24 year olds have a true idea of ​​the contribution of air transport to the French economy (between 3 and 5% of French GDP), only 14% know its real contribution to CO2 emissions (between 2 and 3%). Despite everything, they were more successful in estimating this share since only 10% of those aged 25 and over found the correct answer. There is also a consensus among young people regarding the polluting nature of air (74%) and space (65%). This population also emphasizes the lack of effort by these sectors to reduce their environmental impact.

As air passengers, more than 80% of 15-24 year olds have flown at least once in their life (compared to 91% for those over 25). Before the Covid-19 crisis, in a typical year like 2019, 61% had flown at least once a year. On average, Gen Z made 1.46 thefts per year, less than millennials (1.65 thefts) but more than Gen X (1.34 thefts) or baby boomers (1.015 thefts).

The price, always the price

However, their consumption of air transport is quite paradoxical and deserves to be apprehended with finesse. The report indicates that although constantly connected, young people give little importance to the digital experience when choosing their plane ticket. And even if they are sensitive to environmental issues, the carbon footprint of their travel is only the seventh selection criterion (out of 10).

Finally, as for the rest of the population, Generation Z mainly chooses a flight based on price, safety or the reputation of the company and the number of stopovers. And yet, although price remains their main criterion of choice, young people show a greater propensity than their elders to pay a higher sum for greener flights. In fact, while more than 20% of Generation Z (and 31% of the rest of the population) are not willing to pay more to fly on a more environmentally friendly airline, they are on average willing to pay a 14% more expensive ticket to reduce their environmental footprint. Among those over 25, they are only ready to pay 8% more.

Internet shopping

Finally, when they take the plane, these young people mainly fly to Europe (73%), mainland France (66%) or North Africa (23%). These destinations are generally the same as for their elders. Their tickets are purchased mostly on the airline’s website (64%), on comparators or online agencies (42%). While these channels are equally important for other generations, physical distribution channels (such as travel agencies) play a more important role for the rest of the population, especially for baby boomers.

Researchers from the Pégase Chair analyzed two representative samples of 15-24 year olds (800 respondents) and 25 year olds and over (1010 respondents) in France in order to study the specificities of the expectations and behaviors of 15-24 year olds, comparing them with the rest of the French population.

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