chapter  5
8 Pages

Environmental Externalities of Air Transport

ByTim Ryley

Global aviation has developed rapidly over the last 100 years, transforming commercial air travel from a luxury item for the few to an activity undertaken by nearly 3 billion passengers a year. Even when demand has been affected in the short-term through events such as the 1991 Gulf War, the September 2001 terrorist attacks, and the SARS epidemic, there has been an underlying longer-term growth in air travel. However, accompanying this growth have been increasing concerns surrounding the environmental externalities of air transport. In the broader context of sustainable development, although aviation may be considered by some to be economically and socially sustainable, it is generally considered to be environmentally unsustainable owing to its reliance on carbon intensive fossil fuels.