In the twentieth century, nothing could be considered a bigger influence on the advancement of the world’s economy and the exchange of people than airports and the airlines that utilized them. For thousands of years man has relied on seafaring to reach the distant corners of the world. We used to rely on the ocean and sea vessels for everything from gold and diamonds to spices to rice and wheat. At the turn of the twentieth century we entered an exciting new era when the Wright Brothers made their successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; and flew effectively into history and a new era.
Today’s airplanes are a far cry from their humble and rudimentary beginnings. In the 21st century, supersonic aircraft is the norm. Jumbo-jets and the Boeing Airbus are revolutionizing human transport. The mark of every major city is an international airport that allows travelers from the world over to fly in. The distances that used to separate us for months have been reduced to a few hours on an air-conditioned climate controlled aircraft. Airlines have made it their business to make flight a viable option for much of the world’s citizens. Big business relies on airports and airlines to seal intercontinental and international deals in a matter of days. To be quite objective, true international business as we know it would be impossible without the advent of the airport.
With the advent of aircraft, the world market has grown exponentially. With this increased growth came an increased demand for affordable, reliable airfare. Thus, to answer these new needs came the advent of the airport and multiple airlines to serve different air routes and destinations. The airlines of today have become a multi-billion dollar industry. Every airline has its niche region and aspires to fulfill the needs of a given market and destination. Almost every developed and developing nation has at least one airline attributed to it, and most nations have many more than one airline that serve them. The air travel industry relies chiefly on airports and airlines to deliver its service to the massive number of consumers who rely on air travel everyday. Each airline has contracts with the airports that they serve. This symbiotic relationship ensures that the airlines will have an effective and efficient place to land and schedule flights from, and the airports will have planes that will bring passengers to and from the city they are in. Without an airport, a city is considered isolated from the global community, and this can have profound effects on the local economy as well as the public and private sector.
Interestingly, along with the growth of airlines came the growth of the cities themselves. Airports have proven to be a major deciding factor in foreign investment and the utilization of a regions resources on the global scale. Investment in a given area is decided not only by the resources available, but the accessibility of a given region as well. Along with airports and airlines, cities have seen explosive growth. What used to be a conglomeration of individual nations and economies has merged into a global community that no longer sees distance as an inhibiting factor, but rather sees distance as a road to new opportunities in business and otherwise. With the growth of available air transport, not only goods and people have been exchanged over massive distances; rather ideas themselves have been propagated to an exponentially growing world economy.
With time, the only direction for the air travel industry to grow is up. As the world becomes smaller and we become more connected, people will rely more and more on air travel for both business and tourism. The 20th century may have seen the explosive beginnings of air travel, but the 21st century will see the true potential of human endeavor realized on a world scale. With the growth of the world economy will come the need for massive air transport, and thus the airline and airport niche will continue to see a healthy and prosperous future. That is, until we run out of fuel.