Aviation, growth engine for the world economy
In the coming 20 years, transport will grow further, and aviation in particular will enjoy strong growth thanks to the economic and demographic evolutions. More and more people will take a flight to their holiday destination. Business travellers will also fly more frequently in an ever-globalising world.
Consumers will increasingly expect to receive their parcel with the newest smartphone, clothing, a book etc. at home in under 24 hours. Everybody considers it normal to find exotic fruits and special flowers in their local shops.
Transport by air makes that possible and keeps the economy running.
According to forecasts, the aviation sector will grow more strongly than the rest of the economy and will be more than ever an essential engine for growth. In a globalising economy airports are therefore of strategic importance for their country’s employment.
Development of new aircraft
Aviation has enjoyed strong technological progress in the last decade. The new aircraft are not only quieter, but also more economical and emit less CO2. This technological innovation is in full progress and is currently picking up pace.
A new generation of medium-sized aircraft intended for intercontinental operation is about to appear.
These compact, economical and low-noise aircraft increase the direct connectivity between medium-sized cities, such as Brussels, and other world cities.
Already Brussels Airport, as hub airport, is attracting the latest generation of aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350.
These aircraft are quieter, have the latest technologies on board, are constructed from light-weight materials and emit less CO2 than other aircraft of a similar size. They can connect Brussels, without a stop-over, to a large part of the world.
The aviation sector presently accounts for under 2% of the world’s annual CO2 emissions, but we also recognise that the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably. ICAO adopted a new global market-based measure (GMBM) to offset CO2 emissions from international flights.
Worldwide strategic investments in airports
Many countries are investing today in expanding their airport capacity in order to accommodate the future growth and to attract the growth opportunities.
These governments consider their airports strategic and crucial for the economic development of their country in the long term. New mega-hubs in China, the Gulf States and Turkey are seeing the light of day.
European mega-hubs, including Heathrow, Frankfurt, Schiphol and Madrid, and medium-sized hubs such as Vienna, Munich and Copenhagen have major investment plans for expansion and for attracting additional passengers and cargo.
Too little capacity in Europe in 2035
Growth in passengers and cargo traffic also constitutes a challenge. Many airports have no space for expansion in the peak hours. Without investments in additional capacity, the European airports will by 2035 no longer be able to satisfy the demand and expected growth and will miss the opportunities for creating jobs and economic added value.
Within Europe, medium-sized hubs such a Brussels Airport, which have not yet achieved their full potential, have the best growth opportunities. Only by grasping these opportunities and investing promptly in additional capacity will Europe and Belgium be able to attract the growth in the number of passengers and in cargo and thus create jobs on and around their airports.