Air travel: The Motor of Globalisation

Air travel is globalisation. Globalisation is air travel.

However we turn it, fact is, that we want to feel connected. We want to meet people from all over the world. We love to travel and discover new places. Previously we travelled by train, today by planes. Our generation might be more aware than ever of the negative environmental impact of aviation but this seems to not affect the growth in air travel.

As globalisation is increasing, the air transport industry is growing, too. However, the prices we pay for a flight are going in the opposite direction – they decrease and allow more people to fly. What are the reasons for that? What is it that often allows airlines to be the cheapest travel method at least within Europe?

Travelling has become easy

According to Sir Tim Clark, President of the airline Emirates, we influence the travel industry: “The way people travel, their decisions for travelling, the amount of money they’re prepared to pay, new entrants coming to market, long-range single aisles, it’s all changing.”

Nowadays, we can reach almost any destination easily. We desire to be fast in getting from place A to B. Taking a plane is often the simplest way. However, travel time alone does not always determine our decision.

Often the price becomes the determinant in the end. During the years, air travel has become more affordable for a growing number of people, often being cheaper than train tickets.

Security at Denver International Airport

Advantages for airlines

According to the climate activists website 1010uk.org, airlines profit from some important and influential advantages. One simple reason is the fact that pilots, crew and airport staff work for a shorter amount of time than railway employees when compared to the same travel distance. The railways must be maintained and so must the signals, junctions and trains themselves.

Also the competitive factor makes a difference. While there is often just one train company in a country, customers usually have multiple airlines to choose from. This is why airlines try to compete with each other by having the lowest ticket prices.

Airlines also get support from the government. If an airline is government-owned, an airline can automatically be cheaper. According to a list from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), especially the cheap airlines are more government shared than others.

Technology has made the buying and selling of tickets easy. They can be accessed online or via phone, further lowering costs. There are no travel agents to pay, nor printing or shipping fees. Furthermore, budget airlines fly to airports with lower landing fees and they use the same type of planes to reduce their maintenance costs.

4 Triebwerke

Flying is more

What we need to keep in mind is that flying is not just a cheap way of travelling. It is first of all a way of connecting two locations. Flying is also saving time, allowing us to allocate resources for other things. It is feeling free, being somewhere where human beings are not typically supposed to be. Flying is feeling secure, trusting the pilot that he will guide us safely to our destination.

It does not surprise me that flying is so popular in a fast living world. However, we should still remember to stop and think. Why not take the time to decide if a cheap and fast flight is really what we need? When going on a holiday is it not the goal to slow down?

By Judith Roos

Photo credits:

Rüdiger Stehn, Altenholz Schleswig-Holstein Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0

oddharmonic, Denver International Airport Colorado United States, CC BY-NC 2.0

bratispixl, 4 Triebwerke, CC BY-NC 2.0