Demand for air travel

The Airports Commission has published its interim report on possibilities for additional runway capacity in the London area. An important question is the extend of future growth of demand for air travel. The Commission reviewed the Department for Transport’s demand model and made minor adjustments, leaving unchanged the central expectation of substantial further growth.

I take the view that the market for air travel by UK residents may be nearer saturation that is usually supposed. Dr Anne Graham of the University of Westminster and I made a submission to the Commission to this effect, setting out our arguments. This was acknowledged in a footnote to a technical appendix, but evidently we did not persuade the Commission to shift from the conventional wisdom.

My forthcoming book, Peak Car: the future of travel, will set out the case for saturation of travel demand as a clearly established phenomenon in daily travel, with a likelihood that it may apply to air travel as well.

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