Encyclopedia of Tourism

Living Edition
| Editors: Jafar Jafari, Honggen Xiao

Air transport

  • Michael SpistoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01669-6_231-1


Civil Aviation Commercial Aircraft Code Sharing General Aviation Frequent Flyer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Among the different modes of transportation, air has experienced the fastest growth. Aviation provides 57 million jobs worldwide and transports over one-third of world trade cargoes. In 2013, over three billion passengers traveled by air (Bartsch 2013). More than 29 million scheduled flights are made annually and the growth has averaged about 5 % over the past 30 years (Belobaba et al. 2009).

Air transport ensures economic and social progress by connecting people, cultures, and countries, providing access to global markets, generating trade and tourism, and linking developed and developing countries. This mode consists of over 2,000 airlines with more than 23,000 commercial aircraft flying to over 3,700 airports worldwide (Belobaba et al. 2009).

Other than space flights, air transport is the fastest. Commercial jets can fly 955 km/h, while single-engine piston aircraft reach 555 km. The Bombardier’s CRJs and Embraer’s ERJs transport 30–100 passengers over shorter distances. The Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 fly within a continent up to a range of 3,700 km. Some cross continents, such as the Boeing 747, Boeing 777, or Airbus 350 series, which range up to 17,400 km. The Boeing 747 dominated long-range aviation until competition developed in which the Airbus series took to the skies (Larsen et al. 2012). The long-haul nonstop services fly up to 18 h in duration.

Civil aviation is comprised of all nonmilitary flying, including general aviation and scheduled air transport. The former embraces all nonscheduled private and commercial civil flying, air charter, private aviation, flight training, ballooning, air ambulance, firefighting services, agriculture, and mining (Bartsch 2010). Except for airplanes, helicopters, and rockets, other commercial and private air transport types exist, such as hot air balloons, blimps, and gliders. Air transportation in seaplanes is common in coastal areas even in longer-range trips (Larsen et al. 2012).

Except in the United States, airlines award miles in business or full economy classes. They offer free travel and other gifts once a passenger has flown with the airline (Doganis 2012). Airlines can link their programs with those of other carriers in the creation of global alliances. This covers code sharing, by allowing one airline to offer that flight under its own code (Cento 2009). The International Air Transport Association controls all activities of international flights (Bartsch 2013).

Since the Wright Brothers’ first successfully powered and controlled aircraft took to the skies in 1903, air transportation has gained enormous momentum and is now regarded as one of the biggest industries operating in many countries. It is projected that this industry will still grow enormously over the next few decades, as more and more people rely on air transportation to reach their chosen destinations.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City Queen Campus, College of Law and JusticeVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia