In the last couple of decades, air traffic has rocketed. Annual air passenger numbers have shot up from less than 8 billion in 2018 to over 20 billion today. That’s almost three times the world population, every year!
Bearing in mind that hardly any flights exceed 24 hours, that means that, on average, 60 million people are boarding flights, somewhere, every day. And that doesn’t include drone taxis and private planes.
The only way major air terminals can cope with the hordes is increased reliance on technology. So now we have become used to biometric check-in on our wearable devices or implants, and AI assisted flight scheduling.
To say nothing of air traffic control and routing; without the ‘internet of flying things’ and saturation satellite communications, the crowded skies would be deadly dangerous. Thank you NASA, ESA and SpaceX!
Which leaves you and me wondering. Is it really worth the rush, the just-in-time logistics, the enormous fleets of costly airliners, with all the attendant attendants, safety and maintenance systems?
Electric planes are great, but very small; they’re basically passenger drones. So now aviation is the biggest consumer of liquid fuels globally – and that’s a hefty number for sustainability scientists to worry about, never mind the exhaust emissions.
Perhaps we should just get used to taking the hyperloop instead!