Kristian Niemietz writes for Spiked
Within less than a generation, air travel has been transformed from a luxury good to a mass-market product. It has become accessible to low-income consumers: according to airport surveys, among leisure travellers resident in the UK, over 13million reported incomes of less than £17,500 per annum in 2011. This increased accessibility has hugely changed travel patterns and leisure habits. The aviation industry and the recreation industries surrounding it have grown in size, variety and sophistication.
But that success story may well have reached its zenith in 2008. If the feeble economic recovery lasts, flight activity will probably soon climb back to pre-recession levels, but it is unlikely to find its way back to its prior growth path. The large airports in south-east England are bursting at the seams, and although airport operators are keen on building new runways, without political approval, their hands are tied. The government, meanwhile, is doing its best to postpone a decision on the matter, for example by setting up commissions which, after months of study, reconfirm the obvious.
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