What Impact Does Air Transportation Have On The World Today? Research Paper
In the modern day and age air travel is as essential as breathing. With the advent of communication technology the figurative distance between people has been greatly reduced but travel times were and still sometimes are a great issue. To travel across the globe by any other means than air travel is extremely hectic and time consuming. But air travel saves immense amounts of time and is now getting cheaper and cheaper every day. Air travel is decidedly the best mode of travel and it is a way that is here to stay. Latest innovations in air travel are making travelling much faster.
Other than just the movement of humans and goods across long distances, the aviation industry annually creates many jobs and employs skilled and unskilled labor across the globe. According to a report published by the ‘Air Transport and Action Group’, the air transport industry generates around thirty two million jobs annually. Thus this is an actively job creating industry and more this industry will expand , more and more new jobs will be created to cater to the ever expanding population of the world.
The Power of Air Transportation
Around 2.2 billion passengers move by air from one part of the earth to another and around Thirty five percent of the complete trade of the world is done by air transport. This percentage is said to be on an upward rise. Easier and faster trade and the added factor of less damage to goods that have a short shelf life, these factors are the prime reasons why air transport is preferred. This economic upside of the air transport and air travel industry has made this a booming and expanding industry. This industry was a game changer when it started out and is still ruling the economic world when it comes to the transport industry. All other means of transport and travel seem to be archaic, when compared with air travel and air transport.
Economic and Social Effects
Air transport, however, does not only have economic aspects to it. There are positive social implications of air travel as well. In cases of humanitarian aid transport and distribution in remote areas or areas that cannot be reached by traditional modes of transport such as in case of floods or land sliding. In such scenarios distribution of food and shelter can effectively be done by air transport. The United Nations has been using such modes of air transport distribution of food packages for many years now.
Like all other industries, the air transport and air travel industry has also been affected by the recent economic slump, but it is a vast and live industry that is bound to pick up in a few years. The current economic impact of the air industry is calculated to be around 3.5 billion US dollars or equal to more than seven percent of the GDP of the entire world (Tinseth, 2015).
However environmentally, the impact of the air industry has been very exploitative and negative. Greenhouse emissions have staggeringly increased and their level has taken a sharp upward rise of an astounding eighty seven percent in the EU (European Union) and that too just between the years 1990 and 2006.No other industry is solely responsible for such a sharp increase in greenhouse gases and thus the environmental impact of the air travel and air transport industry is extremely bad. This is mainly because the fuel consumption is high and jet fuel is a high carbon emitting fuel but as of yet there are no alternatives that can be effectively used as fuel in this kind of travel. Although scientific efforts are underway to develop alternate fuels for use, yet to date no such effective fuel has been created. If effective alternate fuels are created and become affordable this will prove to be a game changer for this industry and will be a positive step for the sustainability of the environment as well (Tinseth, 2015).
On the medical field air travel has had some amazingly good effects. Transfer of patients from sites to hospital in a speedy way is done by aviation and such services are readily available in first world and developed countries. The injured person can also be moved from one hospital to another for specialized treatment. Thus the air industry plays its role in making the world a better place and helping humanity when needed. Another god thing that this industry can do for the medical field is the effective and quick yet safe movement of donated organs from the delivery area to the hospital setting where the transplant is being carried out. The organs that are to be transplanted are very fragile and can be damaged very quickly and thus need to be handled very delicately yet they need to be transported as quickly as possible and the aviation industry is the fastest known mode of travelling large distances (Pavia, Andrew, 2007).
In one way or another the aviation industry has opened different parts of the world to people across the globe and due to affordable prices and easy access , people can travel and explore different parts of the world , meet people and discover the beauty of the world. This is a major industry called the tourism industry and the aviation industry has played a role as a big lifeline for the tourism industry. There are areas in the world whose complete economy depends on tourism. If air travel were to cease for even a day this would cause huge economic losses to those areas and those countries.
Some social costs of air travel and air transport industry have come to the fore in the recent years and these include the already discussed huge issue of Greenhouse gases that are causes immense levels of pollution and greatly altering the atmosphere and the temperature of the earth that is leading to many adverse effects to humanity. Another social negative effect is the effect on the health of human beings ("Climate change: Commission proposes bringing air transport into EU Emissions Trading Scheme", 2006).
Medical and Psychological Effects
According to the medical journal ‘Lancet’, consistent and frequent air travel can cause negative mood effects and the phenomenon of jet lag can disturb sleep patterns and cause the person to work less effectively and eventually decrease not on the performance of the said person but also lead to certain psychological issues. In addition to this the low humidity and increased air pressure in the planes makes it easier for infections to travel and this can be a major health hazard in the modern world. Especially with infections and diseases that are spread by air, this issue can be faced severely. In the modern world, the diseased are also mutating at greater rates and vaccines becoming less effective due to the rising resistance of bacteria. The spread of diseases is thus more harmful in this age and planes can prove to be incubators of harvesting diseases in such cases. (Leder & Newman, 2005).
But this will be a rare occurrence .What is much more common is nasal dryness due to the humidity which is around ten to twenty percent in an in-flight airplane cabin.
Air transportation has numerous other effects on the humanitarian side of life. Since it is the most efficient and speedy mode of travel, it is the best tool than can be used to promote the better side of the human nature. In the past, it was seen that the response to calamities and disasters was very slow and inaccessible to the people under danger. With the help of air power, people can be evacuated and brought to safe zones within a matter of hours. In this way, countless lives are saved on an everyday basis. In the event of floods, droughts and earthquakes, food supplies, tents and other relief goods can be airlifted to that place within no time. It also helps in the fast delivery of medicines to the area hit by dangerous outbreaks like Ebola. We have seen how the World Health Organization used the air transportation to their advantage. They lifted their staff and established quarantine zones in Africa in no time and due to their swift response, the dangerous disease has been contained to a large extent and the effected people are being monitored and taken care of in the sealed zones.
Airport-int.com,. (2015). "Air transport - a global approach to sustainability". Retrieved 29 January 2015, from http://www.airport-int.com/article/air-transport-a-global-approach-to-sustainability.html
"Climate change: Commission proposes bringing air transport into EU Emissions Trading
Scheme" (Press release). EU press release. 2006-12-20.
UNEP DTIE (Sustainable Consumption & Production Branch) (undated). A Guide to
Gas Emission Reduction in UN Organizations (DTI/1217/PA). pp.18-19.
Tinseth, R. (2015). $3.5 trillion economic impact. Boeingblogs.com. Retrieved 29 January 2015,
Pavia, Andrew T. (2007). "Germs on a Plane: Aircraft, International Travel, and the Global
Spread of Disease". Journal of Infectious Diseases 195 (5): 621–22. doi:10.1086/511439. PMID 17262701.
Leder K, Newman D (2005). "Respiratory infections during air travel". Intern Med J 35 (1): 50–
55. doi:10.1111/j.1445-5994.2004.00696.x. PMID 15667469.
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