In just over one century, commercial aviation has revolutionised the way in which we live. Every day, nearly eight million passengers* board a flight to do business, reunite with family or to travel and expand their horizons.
Airports play a critical role, and without them, today’s modern economy would struggle to function effectively. Air transport has grown at almost twice the rate of GDP expansion, meaning that more people are travelling than ever before and growth is set to continue. 65 billion passengers have travelled by air in the past century, and it is estimated that another 65 billion passengers will take flight in the next 15 years**. Looking even further ahead, IATA projects that in 2050 aviation will fly 16 billion passengers and 400 million tonnes of cargo in one year alone.
This growth presents a great opportunity for the industry, but also puts great pressure on it. Today’s airport operators face significant challenges in maintaining the operational excellence of airport pavements, along with the increasing pressure to limit runway downtime:
- Extended operating hours and less downtime for maintenance.
- Increased air traffic volume and aircraft load as well as new landing gear configurations leading to increased requirements.
- Short-term supplies of specialised high-quality bitumen are increasingly constrained leading to project delays.
- More stringent safety regulations.
- Increasingly adverse climatic conditions.
Working with partners from across the airport industry, Shell understands these issues and has developed solutions to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.
* International Air Transport Association (IATA) website, March 2015.
** Aviation benefits beyond borders research, Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) 2012.