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Aviation growth disrupted, time for a moratorium on airport expansion, reassesment of aviation climate impact

IATA forward projections for aviation due to the pandemic

There should be an immediate moratorium on the Melbourne Airport 3rd runway design and construction due to aviation forward growth projections being now out of date due to the impact of the Covid19 pandemic.

Melbourne Airport today (14 May) put out a notice they are still committed to building the 3rd runway.

“However, our public exhibition period and community engagement activities for the Draft Major Development Plan will be postponed as we adhere to current strict social distancing measures.”

Melbourne airport failed to include any business risk management plan in their latest Airport Masterplan on high impact low occurrence situations such as black swan events (such as the pandemic) or forseeable but unlikely impacts such as increased climate regulatory action by government, or building a high speed east coast rail network for competition. This was poor risk management. (see Climate Action Moreland 2018 submission to the Melbourne Airport Draft Masterplan)

The International Airline Industry in a press release on 13 May forecasts that due to the pandemic domestic travel may not recover till 2023 and international long haul aviation 2025.

The pandemic is already changing recreational travel behaviours in the short and medium term, and business travel will also be less in future as video-conferencing reduces need to travel while also reducing travel expense to business.

Add to this growing concern and action over climate impact of aviation when we need to be reducing emissions. The need for the 3rd runway based on prepandemic travel projections should be reassessed.

The airline industry also want to remove international quarantine measures as rapidly as possible, replacing with temperature and other health checks in a layered approach.

As up to 50 percent of Covid19 infection transmission is asymptomatic or pre symptomatic, these checks will almost certainly fail to be enough in preventing continued spread of the Corona Virus.

Mass Aviation enabled the rapid global spread of this virus in the first place. Opening up international aviation without quarantine or a vaccine is highly problematic.

Brian Pearce Chief Economist for IATA in his 5 year projections provided this chart. I suspect even this projection by IATA is very rosy forecasting showing a V rebound when consumer confidence will likely take much longer and with airlines subject to much more regulatory action over emissions as the climate emergency comes to the fore again as we learn to live in post pandemic times.

Sources:
IATA press release, 13 May 2020, Don’t Make A Slow Recovery More Difficult with Quarantine Measures
https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-05-13-03/

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