Confidence Returning for Air Travelers

A survey of area businesses shows that people are beginning to fly again. Carl Wolf, Chair of the KC Chamber’s Aviation Committee and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Garmin’s Aviation Group, said, “We have a solid sample size (739 respondents) which indicates to me that many people are considering travel again, and up from our similar survey of last year. Both personal and business travel is increasing, with personal travel (57 percent) leading business travel (43 percent).”

The survey was conducted by the KC Chamber, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Area Development Council. Among the results: 

  • When do you plan to fly through KCI for business travel?
    • 26 percent of respondents said they were already traveling for business;
    • 23 percent said they planned to travel in the next 30 days;
    • 30 percent said they had no plans to travel in the next 30-90 days; and
    • 13 percent indicated they had no plans to travel for the foreseeable future.
    • The August 2020 survey showed 59 percent had no travel plans for the foreseeable future, while 34 percent they would be traveling for business in the next 90 days or were already traveling.
  • Business travel restrictions:
    • 59 percent of the respondents said their company's employees can travel now with adequate reason;
    • 29 percent said no one in their company was currently traveling for business;
    • 12 percent said travel restrictions existed previously but were no longer in place.
  • Impact of remote work expansion on future business travel:
    • 51 percent said remote work has decreased the likelihood of travel for business in the future.
    • 43 percent said remote work has not affected future business travel plans.
    • 7 percent said remote work has increased the likelihood of future business travel.

To view complete survey results, click here.

Justin Meyer of the Kansas City Aviation Department told the Aviation Committee that passenger demand is on the increase at KCI, with consistent growth since the beginning of the year. Though much better than 2020, Meyer said, those numbers were still below the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Jason Van Eaton of Southwest Airlines told the Committee that vaccinations were helping and the airline expected improved demand for the upcoming summer. Peter Wolniak of American Airlines said there would be a 70 percent increase in seats from KCI to the airline’s hubs by July.

Dan Moylan of Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate shared details on construction of the new single terminal at KCI, which has already passed the halfway point. (The new terminal is expected to open in March 2023.) He also told the committee that Edgemoor is meeting or exceeding its goals for Minority- and Women-owned Business participation.