Open Skies or Closed Airports? Europe's Dilemma for a Sustainable Aviation Strategy

Padraic Regan


On the 20th anniversary of Europe's 'Third Package' of air transport liberalisation, it seems appropriate to examine its effectiveness in terms of susdtainability. The relaxation and elimination of restrictions greatly opened up air travel both within Europe and between Europe and the world. However, it also had dramatic consequences for CO2 emissions and airport congestion. In essence, the question being posed is: how does Europe propose to reconcile the conflicting objectives of air transport liberalisation and environmental sustainability? This paper assesses the current strategy in light of recent information on the capacity status of Europe's top airports. Based on increasing CO2 emissions, the absence of a global agreement on how to tackle same and increasingly congested hub airports, resulting in longer flight delays, the evidence would suggest that the challenge is substantial and some type of re-regulation may form part of the solution.

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Journal of Management and Sustainability   ISSN 1925-4725 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4733 (Online)


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