Right now, at this very moment, at least half a million people are in the air. Over the past 25 years, air travel has been transformed from a luxury to a common means of transport. Low-cost carriers have made it affordable to quickly discover the world, while spawning the ever-increasing popularity of weekend breaks by air. For a growing number of people, this convenience has become a seemingly natural part of their holiday plans, of their choice of where to live and work, and which relationships they foster. But how normal is it really to fly? And who bears the cost?
By far, aviation is the mode of transport with the biggest climate impact. Emissions from aviation have risen more rapidly than those from other sectors of the economy: between 1990 to 2010, global CO2 emissions rose by an estimated 25 per cent; over the same period, the CO2 emissions of international aviation rose by more than 70 per cent. And the growth trend continues. The number of aircrafts and the number of passenger-kilometres flown is expected to double over the next 20 years.