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Sky high: Australians’ air travel habits

Source: Roy Morgan Air Travel Report, October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416

In a country the size and location of Australia, it’s no wonder that Aussies are an airborne bunch. Findings from Roy Morgan Research’s latest Air Travel Report reveal that more than 10 million of us travelled by air at least once for business and/or leisure in the 12 months to September 2016, amassing a total of over 31 million air trips. With the peak holiday season nearly here, and International Civil Aviation Day this week (7 December), it seems an apt time to shine a spotlight on Australians taking to the skies on holiday…

Between October 2015 and September 2016, 10.1 million Australians (or 51.3% of the population) travelled by air for business and/or pleasure at least once. The overwhelming majority—9.4 million people/ 47.7%—flew for leisure, taking 20.4 million trips in total between them.

Holiday flyers

Some 7.1 million Aussies travelled within Australia by air for holiday purposes once or more: despite this averaging out at two domestic air trips per person, almost 55% took just one, 26.0% took two, and 8.1% clocked up three.  

Australians who took at least one domestic air trip for leisure


Source: Roy Morgan Air Travel Report, October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416 (5,033 of whom travelled by air domestically for leisure)

Meanwhile, 5.3 million Australians flew overseas on at least one occasion for a holiday, with more than three-quarters (77.7%) taking just the one trip, 17.0% jetting off twice, and a lucky 3.2% taking three air trips.

Australians who took at least one overseas air trip for leisure


Source: Roy Morgan Air Travel Report, October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416 (3,358 of whom travelled by air internationally for business)

Obviously, there is substantial crossover between these domestic and international air travellers: indeed, Roy Morgan data reveals that just over 3 million people were fortunate enough to fly both within Australia and overseas for leisure purposes.

Business air travel

Not surprisingly, business air travel figures are considerably lower. Some 2.3 million Aussies travelled by air at least once for business in the 12 months to September 2016, taking a total of 10.8 million trips between them (averaging a smidgeon under four air trips per person).

Once again, the overwhelming majority of business travellers—2.1 million people—flew within Australia. A third of those travelled just once in 12 months, 20% took a couple of air trips, and almost one in every 10 flew for business at least once a month.

Far fewer people (628,000) flew overseas for business, with more than half (55.0%) taking just one business trip by air outside of Australia, 23.8% taking two and 9.2% jetting off three times.

Australians who took at least one domestic air trip for business


Source: Roy Morgan Air Travel Report, October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416 (1,155 of whom travelled by air domestically for business)

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The latest Air Travel Report from Roy Morgan Research confirms that more than half of Australians (aged 14+) took at least one flight in the 12 months to September 2016. Given the vast size of the country and its distance from much of the world, Aussies have little choice but to take to the skies if they want to travel any substantial distance.

“As we have seen, a massive 9.4 million Aussies took a total of 20.4 million leisure air trips either domestically or overseas, while 2.3 million took 10.8 million business trips. Such a high volume of air travellers represents an ongoing (and lucrative) opportunity for domestic and international airlines keen to get a larger slice of the pie.

“The Roy Morgan Air Travel Report reveals not only which airlines are currently flying the largest proportion of Aussie business and leisure air travellers within Australia and beyond, but also which airlines these same travellers would consider for their next trip.

“Combine this data with overall airline satisfaction, most popular destinations for both business and leisure air travellers, and the lowdown on what proportion of business travellers incorporate a leisure element into their trip, and airlines are equipped to tailor their marketing accordingly, thereby increasing their chances of reaching the most receptive audience…”


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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%