The Sustainability of Air Transport
During the latter half of the twentieth century, the telecommunications, shipping and air transport sectors facilitated the development of a global economy and an increasingly multi-cultural society. Despite international conflicts, outbreaks of disease and economic downturns, civil aviation has demonstrated exponential growth for the past 50 years, driven by a wide variety of factors including growing affluence and the development of the World Wide Web and most recently by the rapid emergence of the BRICS1 economies. The benefits of being linked to the rest of the world by a network of air routes are significant, as aviation promotes trade, inward investment, travel for leisure and education, tourism and much more. However, observers are questioning whether this aviation-based development is sustainable because of the industry’s environmental impacts (Rothengatter 2010; Thomas et al. 2010).