Experiences from the international frontlines: An exploration of the perceptions of airport employees during the COVID-19 pandemic

Stefan Tuchen*, Mohsen Nazemi, Signe Maria Ghelfi-Waechter, Euiyoung Kim, Franziska Hofer, Ching Fu Chen, Mohit Arora, Sicco Santema, Lucienne Blessing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


The aviation industry is one of the sectors that has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. While the major body of literature has focused on passenger experience and behaviour, this study focuses on airport employees instead—their experiences, perceptions, and preferences following the emergence of COVID-19. More than 1000 participants from 4 major airports—Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Singapore Changi Airport, Taipei Taoyuan Airport, and Zurich Airport—representing over 10 different occupations, have provided a variety of sentiments about the airport as an employment ecosystem in the wake of COVID-19. Quantitatively and qualitatively surveying four different airports enabled a cross-border analysis of the results to identify interesting geographic contrasts, as well as global themes, among the responses. Regional differences regarding, the feeling of preparedness, confidence in measures, and optimism are presented. A significant difference in confidence in non-pharmaceutical measures between employees from Asian and European airports is shown. Wants and needs such as better physical/IT workplace infrastructure and more flexibility regarding job scope and hours are pointed out. The results of this research provide insights for future airport employee experience research by outlining areas to study in greater detail. Furthermore, practical implications for airport stakeholders and companies arising from the challenges experienced by the workforce are laid out to provide guidance to prepare for similar circumstances in the future and navigate the aftermath of and recovery from the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102404
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Air Transport Management
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Air transportation systems
  • Airport planning
  • Coronavirus
  • Frontline employees
  • Pandemic impact
  • User experience


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