• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 13, No 3 (2022)

An Exploration of Personal Decision as Mediating Effect between Passenger Concern and Airport Service Information During COVID-19 Outbreak

An Exploration of Personal Decision as Mediating Effect between Passenger Concern and Airport Service Information During COVID-19 Outbreak

Title: An Exploration of Personal Decision as Mediating Effect between Passenger Concern and Airport Service Information During COVID-19 Outbreak
Fauzan Romadlon, Firdayanthi Lestiana, Nuansa Aita Putri

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Cite this article as:
Romadlon, F., Lestiana, F., Putri, N.A., 2022. An Exploration of Personal Decision as Mediating Effect between Passenger Concern and Airport Service Information During COVID-19 Outbreak. International Journal of Technology. Volume 13(3), pp. 664-676

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Fauzan Romadlon Industrial Engineering Department, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Design, Institut Teknologi Telkom Purwokerto, Purwokerto, 53147, Indonesia
Firdayanthi Lestiana Industrial Engineering Department, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Design, Institut Teknologi Telkom Purwokerto, Purwokerto, 53147, Indonesia
Nuansa Aita Putri Industrial Engineering Department, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Design, Institut Teknologi Telkom Purwokerto, Purwokerto, 53147, Indonesia
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Abstract
An Exploration of Personal Decision as Mediating Effect between Passenger Concern and Airport Service Information During COVID-19 Outbreak

The Indonesian government has commanded the new reality status. In this situation, various public transportations have started operating again, particularly at Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) and Adisutjipto Airport (JOG). By overcoming the new reality status, the airport services provider has been required to improve the services to expect the passenger' concerns. Therefore, the objective of the study was to directly determine passenger satisfaction during the COVID-19 outbreak in Yogyakarta airports, whether the passenger's concern significantly influenced the passenger's personal decision toward the service, and whether the personal decision influenced the provided information of the airport service provider. The method used was a quantitative method and the International Air Transport Association questionnaire was set to survey 417 respondents. The analysis of those criteria used Structural Equation Modelling Partial Least Square. The result showed a significant correlation between concern and the provided air service information, between concern and the personal decision, and the personal decision mediating link between the concern of the passenger and the provided air service information. According to the model, there was a limitation that the dependent variable explained the provided information and the personal decision at low impact. The other factors shall be included in the model to gain more overview of the model.

Airport; Air travel; Concern; COVID-19; Service information

Introduction

Air transportation is currently an alternative for long-distance travel, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed aviation and airport business processes. One of them was the decreasing number of airport service users (Tuchen et al., 2020). In Indonesia, the number of patients infected with COVID-19 reached one million in January 2021 (Dong et al., 2020). Therefore, the government had instructed to do temporary public mobility restrictions and causing the weakening of the economic activity, especially in transportation services (Candra et al., 2021). It impacted all of the public transportation services, specifically the aviation industry and air travel passengers. After the temporary restriction status, the government commanded the new reality status. The new reality is the condition where society adopts new behavior to live together with the virus. In this situation, various public transportations have started operating again, particularly at Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) and Adisutjipto Airport (JOG).

However, the passengers are still worried about traveling. The effect of COVID-19 had a direct correlation between the high volume of air passengers entering a country and the high number of COVID-19 infections, especially among adults (Oztig & Askin, 2020).

It could be stated that the more increased air passenger traffic passes, the higher the chance of infection or being infected by COVID-19 was (Lau et al., 2020). It forced the airport service provider to develop some actions to guarantee that the airports were safe.

It was proven that some frequent air passengers had been concerned about their health and wellbeing, so the airport service provider should have realized pre, during, and post-flight about the infection and disease control (Sotomayor-Castillo et al., 2020). Passenger safety enhanced the interest in air travel, which ended up impacting the aviation industry (Budd et al., 2020). To overcome the issue, the airport services provider needed to improve the services to expect the passenger concerns. The passenger's concern was related to their travel decision. The travel decision is the attributes of the alternative are weighed based on personal perception. It was also the alternatives that may filter through the travel requirements hierarchy (Singleton, 2013). Personal values and their social experiences triggered their decision. Travel decision-making was generated by the value perceptions, the attitude, and the intention itself (Gardiner et al., 2013). Therefore, our research focused on prediction and understanding the travel decision during the pandemic rather than interpretation. There had been little research focusing on a direct survey of passenger concerns at airports. The last study evaluated the quality and quantity of communication between airlines and passengers via social media Twitter (Maneenop & Kotcharin, 2020).

The research was conducted to directly determine passenger satisfaction during the COVID-19 outbreak in Yogyakarta airports. The objective was to know whether the passenger's concern significantly influences the passenger's personal decision toward the service and what they thought to ensure their health and safety. Then, another objective was to discover whether the personal decision influences the provided information at the airports. The satisfactions could be used as input for the airport service providers to improve the services and facilities at both airports during and post-pandemic. The satisfaction was expressed as a personal passenger decision whether they would continue flying or not. Furthermore, Yogyakarta was then chosen because it had many air travel passengers, both domestic and internationally. The airport's escalation reached 13-15% compared with other domestic airports that were touched 10% only (Budi, 2018). Also, the place was one of the passenger destinations for trade, education, cultural exchange, and some industrial purposes. 

1.1. Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

The conceptual model of the study can be seen in Figure 1. Many studies focused on passenger satisfaction, perceived quality, and perceived values (Ni et al., 2020). We assumed on the model that passenger satisfaction was a personal decision, perceived quality as a concern regarding the pandemic situation, and perceived values as provided information by the airport service provider. Previous research mentioned a positive correlation between perceived quality and perceived value and passenger satisfaction (Winahyu & Sitti, 2016). Therefore, this study focused on simulating whether passenger concern about the pandemic situation had influenced passengers' personal decisions and provided information. Passenger personal decisions positively influenced the provided information and mediated between passenger concerns and provided information from the airports.



Figure 1 Conceptual Model

Customer satisfaction is a fundamental element to gain perceived value and service quality (Hapsari et al., 2016). The previous study indicates that customer satisfaction consists of two things; customer characteristics and the service concept. The customer characteristics covered demographics, situational experience, and service class. In comparison, the service concept encompasses the core and peripheral service elements (Anderson et al., 2008).  In implementing the service concept, the airport service providers needed to create accurate information to help identify the actual passenger expectation (Zuna et al., 2016). The provided information represented the perceived value of the passenger to get their satisfaction with the pandemic situation.

Meanwhile, traveler satisfaction was identified by the personnel's overall facilities, comfort, satisfaction, and helpfulness (Purba et al., 2017). Therefore, it needed additional information, assistance, or reassurance to move from the traditional process by the service provider (Halpern et al., 2021). The provided information from the airport service provider referred to the passenger to set their decision. The decision conceived the customer satisfaction whether they would continue or postpone their air travel planning. Based on the explanation, the hypothesis is formulated as follows,

H1: Provided information from the airport service provider is positively affected by personal passenger decisions.

The air transport provider's responsibility is to inform and shape transport policy and good practices to respond to COVID-19 (Budd & Ison, 2020). Frequent air travelers have significant health concerns concerning infectious diseases. The air transporter must provide pre and post-flight prevention and control of the conditions (Sotomayor-Castillo et al., 2020). The air traveler shall get a transportation warranty in the same way as China did during COVID-19 (Chen & Pan, 2020). People may consider resuming overseas travel, so they need relaxed requirements of self-isolation and vaccine (Song & Choi, 2020). Additionally, the elderly passenger is still planning to travel by air in the next year or do less travel or more domestic with more transportation modes (Graham et al., 2020). Individual travelers can access air and public transportation resources based on their preferences, restrictions, and social distancing norms, which affect their preferences and negatively influence their satisfaction (Khaddar & Fatmi, 2021). All of those conditions revealed the passenger's concern. Thus, the hypothesis is assumed,

H2: Concern of the passenger during the pandemic positively affects provided information from the airport service provider.

The seamless process revises its process per capacity. The resilience with sustainable strategies offers a broader variety of services to the passenger. The previous study stated that long-term goals provide resilient action with sustainable methods that provide passengers with a more comprehensive array of services (Serrano & Kazda, 2020). Therefore, the airport service provider shall overcome passenger concerns that can be defined as behavioral intention. The behavioral choice is driven by passenger values that are achieved by the company (Gounaris et al., 2007). It means that the pandemic's concern about the passenger's personal decision and the perceived value of the passenger is strongly influenced by the airport service quality (Bezerra & Gomes, 2020). The hypothesis is set as follows,

H3:  Concern for the passenger during the pandemic positively affects the personal passenger decision.

Customer satisfaction is one of the essential criteria that the airport service providers must pay attention to. The satisfaction can help to attract more customers who use the existing airports and airlines (Tuchen et al., 2020). For example, the waiting room's satisfaction is influenced by the arrival information and the offered atmosphere (Parsetiorini, 2017).  Some air travelers in India were less satisfied with the airport's provided facilities and had low satisfaction with implementing preventive measures during the pandemic (Mahalakshmi, 2020). Satisfaction is needed during the pandemic and the post-pandemic to ensure the passengers' mobility.

Furthermore, the passengers' satisfaction is also influenced by the offered facilities, the provided services, and the feasibility of access to the airport information (Yuliana, 2017). The quality of the airport services is influenced by various factors; responsiveness, tangibles, reliability, assurance, and empathy (Mahalli, 2014; Purwita & Bintoro, 2019). Moreover, several additional factors such as information visibility, convenience, and security are also part of the service quality (Marina et al., 2018).

Generally, public transport's service characteristic is convenient, safe, and comfortable. In some cases, the corporate image influences perceived quality, and then it has a positive correlation with perceived value and passenger satisfaction (Ni et al., 2020). The airport service quality consists of seven dimensions; security, check-in, wayfinding, the environment, access, arrival services, and the facilities (Chonsalasin et al., 2020). One of the facilities is a servicescape. The perceived servicescape in the airport positively affects the emotional response of the passenger and their satisfaction. Therefore, it will create the airport image and passengers' behavioral intentions (Park & Park, 2018). The excellent service scape leads to shopping behavior, and the shopping satisfaction at the airport has a direct correlation with the place of residence and the passenger destination route (Martín et al., 2019). 

Customer satisfaction and loyalty strongly affect the customer who perceives high value to repurchase the product (Kuo et al., 2011). The previous study revealed that perceived price, perceived value, passenger satisfaction, and the company image influence the passenger's future behavioral intention (Park et al., 2006). Moreover, the service quality and perceived value have a direct consequence on customer satisfaction. Perceived values play a part in mediating the role between service quality and customer satisfaction (Winahyu & Sitti, 2016). It is also confirmed in the airline industry that perceived quality and service quality have a significant relationship with customer loyalty and satisfaction (Rahim, 2016). Therefore, the passenger's personal decision to choose whether they will fly or not is based on the condition of the airport. The state of the airport is known from the provided information, and the information influences concern and awareness. The information's concern and attention include the big picture of the air travel pandemic apart from a social distance, hygiene during the flight, and infection alert procedure (Samanci et al., 2021).  The standards make the passenger concerned about reusing the airport services. Sometimes the decision is made on the emotional background. A previous study mentioned that emotional response and airport image are mediated by passenger satisfaction (Park & Park, 2018). In this study, the emotional response is depicted as a concern, and the airport image represents provided information through the passenger. Moreover, the indirect effect of the passenger concern and provided information can be supposed through the mediation of passenger satisfaction. The hypothesis is assumed as follows,

H4: provided information at the airport mediates the connection between passenger concerns and personal passenger decision during the pandemic. 

Conclusion

The pandemic situation has changed social behavior and intention. From the transportation service provider's perspective, they intend to adapt and try to sustain their business. The airport service provider realizes they have to provide the information and service to develop passenger satisfaction. This study gives insightful results that the passenger's concern about the pandemic influences the provided information from the airport and the personal decision of the passenger whether they will continue to fly or not within the particular time. In addition, the personal decision of the customer mediates the link between the passenger's concern and the provided information from the airport service provider. According to the model, the constructed depending variable explains the provided information is at 24.9%. The personal decision is at 2.5%, and the rest is explained by other factors not included in this study. Therefore, this study has many limitations affected by the accuracy of the measurements, a smaller number of unobserved factors, and strength causality. Future research can be done by adding more variables such as government regulation about the pandemic, the current situation for air transportation, and different airport service providers who have experience controlling the infected disease in the public area and on public transport. Furthermore, the research on the airport image and behavioral intention can also be added to improve the model to be more comprehensive. 

Acknowledgement

    This acknowledgment is given to IT Telkom Purwokerto for supported grant 2021 and PT Angkasa Pura I for the chance to gain the data. We thank the airline passengers who offered us free time to fill out our questionnaire and the surveyor team from Industrial Engineering, IT Telkom Purwokerto, Central Java, Indonesia.

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