chapter  3
12 Pages

The airport industry

ByLucy Budd, Stephen Ison

The chapter describes the contemporary scale and scope of global provision. Airports, those familiar and often much-maligned interfaces between ground and sky, are vital nodes in the modern world economy. Airports permit passengers to complete long-distance journeys, which would once have taken many days or months by land or sea, in a matter of hours by air, and enable personal and professional relationships to be conducted at a distance and across multiple time zones. The global airport industry as a whole now includes public institutions and private businesses that own and/or operate airports, as well as third-party providers that deliver services as diverse as refuelling, catering, ground handling, air traffic control, security and air cargo/logistics. Airport privatisation is often thought of as transferring the whole airport from public to private operation and/or ownership, but private sector involvement at airports can take many forms, from least to full privatisation.