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Environmental and financial sustainability of air transport: Are they incompatible?


  • Forsyth, Peter


Many would consider that the current reliance on air transport is environmentally unsustainable, especially given its impacts on climate change and its use of non-renewable resources. In addition, financial sustainability is often seen as inconsistent with environmental sustainability. The conclusions here are otherwise. Air transport does contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but the climate change problem is a general one, and while addressing it has a cost, this cost is minimised when air transport is required to bear the environmental costs that it imposes. The reliance on non-renewable resources does give rise to a sustainability problem. There is not likely to be a problem of lack of financial sustainability of the industry, though addressing environmental objective will lead to a reduction in performance in the short run. Both environmental and financial sustainability of air transport can be achieved, as long as efficient policies are adopted.

Suggested Citation

  • Forsyth, Peter, 2011. "Environmental and financial sustainability of air transport: Are they incompatible?," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 27-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:17:y:2011:i:1:p:27-32
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2010.10.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Morrell, Peter, 2007. "An evaluation of possible EU air transport emissions trading scheme allocation methods," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5562-5570, November.
    2. Peter Forsyth, 2008. "The Impact of Climate Change Policy on Competition in the Air Transport Industry," OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre Discussion Papers 2008/18, OECD Publishing.
    3. Scheelhaase, Janina D. & Grimme, Wolfgang G., 2007. "Emissions trading for international aviation—an estimation of the economic impact on selected European airlines," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 253-263.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hagmann, Carmen & Semeijn, Janjaap & Vellenga, David B., 2015. "Exploring the green image of airlines: Passenger perceptions and airline choice," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 37-45.
    2. Tretheway, Michael W. & Markhvida, Kate, 2014. "The aviation value chain: Economic returns and policy issues," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 3-16.
    3. Niu, Shih-Yuan & Liu, Chiung-Lin & Chang, Chih-Ching & Ye, Kung-Don, 2016. "What are passenger perspectives regarding airlines' environmental protection? An empirical investigation in Taiwan," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 84-91.


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