The Dutch population is less positive towards aviation in 2022

According to researchers from the analysis agency Motivaction, this downward trend has been going on since 2018. Since the corona crisis (2020), there are also more advocates for contraction than growth in aviation. This year (2022), half believe that fewer flights should be flown in the Netherlands than we were used to before corona, a quarter want the volume to remain the same. The need for shrinkage mainly concerns Schiphol and to a lesser extent the regional airports of national importance.

Top priority
Safety, ecology and the health of local residents are considered the top priorities for aviation. Economic values ​​and travel convenience are less important. Furthermore, political initiatives that make aviation more sustainable can count on broad support, especially if the Dutch themselves do not directly pay for them financially. Fewer – but still half – are in favor of limiting the permitted CO2 emissions per airport. In addition, in 2022 there was more support for moving flights to regional airports, possibly prompted by the operational problems that Schiphol has faced in recent months. Since 2018, support has also slowly grown for measures that make the train more attractive as an alternative to short flights. The operational problems at the airports were often a reason not to fly even last year. Three out of ten air travelers would also consider diverting to airports in neighboring countries if they are more comfortable.

Fewer private planes
Air travelers expect to continue to fly less privately post-corona than before the corona pandemic. Around four out of ten are also prepared to fly less often than they used to and to take more holidays in their own country. The willingness to take more holidays in one’s own country has increased in recent years. Despite air travelers expecting to continue to fly less (privately), the intention to fly will increase again next year.

Business transport
Business travelers also expect to continue to fly less post-corona, although the proportion expecting to fly more has increased compared to 2021, according to the survey. Dutch people who say they live within a radius of 10 kilometers from an airstrip or airport experience more noise nuisance than from a motorway, railway line or train station. About a tenth of the people who live near an airport or route experience this as unsafe.

Despite the downward trend, the majority of the Dutch are positive about aviation, but the number is decreasing. In 2022, a majority (71 percent) of the Dutch will be generally positive about aviation in the Netherlands. In 2021, more were positive (79 percent). Since 2018, the researchers have observed a downward trend in the valuation.

The number of flights to and from the Netherlands fell during the corona crisis. Aviation is now recovering, but it is not yet at the old level. Half (50 percent) of the Dutch believe that the number of flights should remain lower than it was before the corona crisis. Furthermore, 15 percent believe that the volume should be able to increase and a quarter (26 percent) that it should remain the same (9 percent have no opinion).

Last year there were fewer in favor of contraction (43 percent) and more in favor of growth (19 percent). Support for growth or contraction has fluctuated quite a bit over the past three years, but since 2020 there have been more and more supporters of contraction than growth.

This year, the support basis for growth/shrinkage was examined for the first time per type of airport: Schiphol, regional airports in the Netherlands and airports in neighboring countries (Germany and Belgium). For all types of airports, more people want shrinkage than growth. This applies mostly to Schiphol (52 percent want a reduction) and least to regional airports in the Netherlands (34 percent want a reduction). Proponents of this decline most often cite environmental pollution as the reason for their stance. Proponents of growth mainly cite the economic interest as the reason. Around half consider business flights and flights for events to be less important now than before the corona crisis.

Business flights less important
Just like in 2021, the Dutch say they have started to look at flights differently since the corona outbreak in March 2020. Almost half (46 percent) now consider business flights less important than before corona.

Flights to transport goods and to visit family or friends are still considered as important by half as before the corona crisis, holiday flights by four out of ten (40 percent).

The Dutch consider many different values ​​important when it comes to aviation. Safety still has the highest priority, followed by climate & environment, local population health and nature & landscape. This is followed by travellers’ health, limiting noise nuisance and a strong economy. The least priority is comfort and affordability for travelers.

Flight tax
Opinions are divided on the increase in the air tax, but there are more in favor than opponents: 43 percent are (very) positive, 26 percent (very) negative and 30 percent are neutral. More than half (53 percent) are (very) positive about making flying cheaper for travelers flying quieter and more efficient planes. Support for this measure is now higher than last year (41 percent).

A majority favor airlines using clean, sustainable fuels (71 percent) and offering benefits to airlines that become more sustainable (57 percent). Most are also positive about stimulating the development of aircraft with more efficient engines (78 percent), making ground handling more sustainable (71 percent) and developing electric and hybrid aircraft (65 percent).

More than half (55 per cent) of those questioned are in favor of a reduction in the number of permitted night flights, so that the local residents experience less noise nuisance at night.

The researchers see increasing support for making the train more attractive for short-haul flights. Three quarters (76 percent) of the Dutch are (very) positive about making the use of the train more attractive as an alternative to short flight distances. Support for this measure has not been this high since 2018. A majority (60 percent) also favor making short-haul flights less attractive, for example by making them more expensive.

Image (c) Motivation

Aviation is KLM
The research also shows that the airline KLM is most often spontaneously associated with aviation, although the researchers see a decreasing trend here. The connection to Schiphol is stable in second place (48 percent). By 2022, researchers see an increase in the number of people associating aviation with crowds/waiting times. This is most likely due to the many reports of (or our own experience with) the crowds at airports due to staff shortages/strikes.

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