About Civil Aviation
Aviation is a fast while (relatively) affordable transport mode to carry passengers or cargo. It is characterised by its independence from terrains near the Earth surface. Passengers take flights onboard mechanical aircrafts which can “defy gravity” and fly in the air.
Most air travels (aviation) can be categorised into military and civil (non-military) aviation depending on their operations and purposes. Civil aviation includes both scheduled air transport and general aviation (non-scheduled). While all scheduled air transport is classified as commercial, general aviation can be either commercial or private.
Most airlines (scheduled services of air transportation between areas) obtain their profits, if any, by passenger carriers. Use of the fast but relatively expensive transport mode is best justified by highly valuable goods – and people are arguably the most valuable things to be carried.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is a United Nations agency established in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. ICAO and the Convention’s 192 Member States work together to enforce Standards and Recommended Practices for international civil aviation.
In Australia, the first Commonwealth agency to manage civil aviation, the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of Defence, was established in March 1921. It expanded and became the Department of Civil Aviation in November 1938. The Civil Aviation Authority, Australia’s first statutory authority with responsibility for civil aviation was established in July 1988. In July 1995, the Civil Aviation Authority was separated to form the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Airservices Australia.
Advantages and Disadvantages
|No physical barrier||Unreliable services|
|Easy access||Limited capacity|
|Comfort||High operating cost (aircrafts)|
Some of the most significant advantages and disadvantages of aviation are listed in Table 1.
The most significant advantage of aviation is its high speed which shortens travel time from origins to destinations. Air travel makes long-distance travel much faster than other previous types of modes. Air transport is not subjected to ground or water conditions. This is a unique characteristic of air travel for it to become viable in most regions of the world which would not be easily accessed by other modes of transport. The construction of tracks or roads is not required, nor is the access to rivers or sea. The physical barrier to build an aviation system and to operate one is low. This also brings better user experience in terms of comfort. Air travels experience less turbulence than water transport and less vibration (of smaller amplitudes) than ground or underground transports.
The disadvantages include safety concerns, limits of technology and high costs/prices. Since aircrafts are delicate mechanical and electronic products, a small error in its system can have catastrophic consequences. Due to the isolated environment in the air and magnitude of height and speed, air travel is physically more dangerous than other slower-moving transport modes. Though the physical barrier is lower than other transport modes, aviation is still subjected to weathers. The atmospheric conditions are critical in the operation of an aircraft. To ensure safety, air travels usually have a low tolerance for adverse weathers so that scheduled services can be frequently disrupted by delays. In addition, aircrafts have relatively limited capacity when compared with ships or railroads. This also contributes to higher prices of air travel when the demand-supply relationship is considered. Economies of scale are limited to a single aircraft due to limited capacity to carry passengers or other goods. Aircrafts are expensive due to their technological complexity. The capital investment, skill requirements to operate and manage, maintenance cost and software upgrade cost could be higher than other modes of transport.
History of Technology
The inner desire of humans to fly first appeared in mythologies and legends. However, the early attempts usually ended in tragedies. The famous Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus who escaped the Labyrinth on Crete with wings made of feathers and wax was one of them. The legend says that despite being warned by his father, the craftsman Daedalus who made the wings, Icarus flew too close to the sun. Hence, the wax on his wings melted and led to his fatal fall into the sea. The early attempts to fly by this time are known as “tower jumping” which is essentially leaping from high places with some crude crafts attached to their bodies.
Kite, Bamboo Dragonfly and Sky Lantern
Kites and “Bamboo Dragonfly” (or bamboo-copters) are the earliest forms of aircrafts, possibly invented in China as early as in the 5th and 4th century BC respectively. Like many other great inventions of China, they are most commonly used as toys though the principles can be applied to construct larger carriers. Legend claims that Han Xin, a general of the Han Dynasty around 200 BC, used large kites to carry people in the air to measure distances for a tunnel while in some stories the kites carried people for propaganda purposes (to terrorise the enemy).
The Chinese had also invented a form of hot air balloons called the sky lantern. The lantern cover is made of strong paper or silk inside which a small lantern is placed to provide the lift. In Chinese legends, the use of sky lantern is often attributed to Zhuge Liang around 200 AD who used sky lanterns in military combats to scare the enemy and set fire to enemy ships.
Hot Air Balloon and Airship (Lighter-than-air)
Although the idea of early human-powered ornithopter (an aircraft which flies by flapping the wings like a bird) designed by Leonardo Da Vinci and others during the Renaissance was disillusioned, humans started to realise the necessity of larger and more complex devices to overcome physical limitations of the human body to fly.
The first successful manned aviation happened in 1783 by a globe-shaped hot air balloon. The hot air balloon was produced by the Montgolfier Brothers, Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (1740 – 1810) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (1745 – 1799) of France. The late 18th century and early 19th century were the burgeoning period of non-steerable hot air balloons. The hot air balloons were used in wars but more popular as recreational sports in Britain. The aviation industry then worked on the control (steerability), safety and efficiency of the power system (hydrogen gas, coal gas or helium gas) in the 19th century. The first powered, controlled, sustained lighter-than-air airship was built by the French engineer Jules Henri Giffard. The first flight of the cigar-shaped team-powered happened on 24 September 1852, travelled about 17 miles at a speed of 6 miles per hour. Electric-powered airships were invented later in 1884.
Sir George Cayley (1773 – 1857) is called the “Father of Aviation” for his work in identifying the four aerodynamic forces: weight, lift, drag and thrust. He worked on several types of flying machines including airships, gliders and helicopters. In 1799, Cayley recorded his simple but significant idea of the separation of propulsion and lifting systems on a silver disc (the Silver Disc). This formed his concept that the future heavier-than-air flights should use fixed-wing flying machines which is the prototype of modern aeroplanes. Cayley’s work extended and was directly applied to aircraft designs powered by steam engines. Although gliders which do not require an engine were better developed in the later 19th century, propeller-driven aircraft attracted many mechanical and aeronautical engineers at that time to explore possibilities of longer-distance air transport.
The Wright Brothers are credited for the first powered, sustained and controlled flight with their heavier-than-air Wright flyer on 17 December 2017. Their success was a result of the superior understanding of the aerodynamics established from systematic modelling experiments. The Wright Brothers conducted more than 200 tests with their wing designs and found mistakes in the previous models of lift during their study of gliders. They built their own wind tunnel and corrected the aspect ratio of aircraft. In February 1908, they signed a contract with the U.S. Army to deliver a machine which can fly for one hour with a pilot and a passenger at an average speed of 40 miles per hour for $25,000. In 1909, they completed the contract and received a bonus of $5000 for exceeding the required speed. The Wright Company was then established in November of the same year.
The history of commercial flights can be dated back to 1909 when DELAG operated Zeppelin airships to provide flight services. Though it was not initially successful in arranging regular schedules, the experience contributed to the development of commercial airlines as a prototype.
The objective of the quantitative analysis is to use a three-parameter logistic function to predict the life cycle of the aviation industry in Australia. It is known from experience that a transport mode usually undergoes stages of birthing, growth and maturity before its decline. The logistic model simulates the first three phases of development and provides a graphical illustration. The function can be written as:
is the status measure, i.e. the number of passengers in millions taking scheduled air travels.
is the year in which the passengers take the flights.
is the saturation status level i.e. the upper limit of the annual number of passengers in the aviation industry.
is the inflection time i.e. the year when half of the maximum number of passengers is reached.
is an arbitrary coefficient to control the rate of increase of the function.
The equation can be transformed into the following form:
is trialled against the set of
which are given by the data. The linear relationship is then analysed with Microsoft Excel Regression Analysis Tools to identify the most suitable
and calculate the value of
by dividing the y-intercept by
Based on the World Bank data on the number of passengers carried in the world and in Australia from 1970 to 2016, the current numbers of passengers carried are plotted in Figure 1 and 2 for World and Australian data respectively. Simple built-in trendline functions in Excel are also shown, one is a linear regression fit and another is exponential. The trend lines indicate sustained growth in the number of passengers for both World and Australian aviation. However, they are not as useful in forecasting and prediction because there are physical limits to the number of passengers carried, i.e. population growth and the number of aeroplanes, unlike the constant or accelerating increases demonstrated by the trend lines.
The plot of
with actual and modelling statistics are shown in Figure 3 and 4 respectively for the world and Australia. Data are processed with curve-fitting procedures and regression analysis to increase the accuracy of the model. The results of the model are used to provide evaluations and to estimate the life cycle of civil aviation in Australia.
Data are available on the World Bank website and the data used are at the end of this page. The world dataset is to test the validity of the logistic model and is set as a reference to develop a model for civil aviation in Australia.
Table 2 records the values of
(R-squared) for the world and Australian aviation.
Both World and Australian aviation industries have shown similar trends in their development. With a high goodness of fit of the model (
of 0.992 and 0.985 respectively), the inflection year is calculated to be around 2041. While the data indicates that aviation industry has not reached the inflection year i.e. the rate of growth in the number of passengers has not slowed down, it is uncertain when the growth would start to decelerate.
The model predicts large numbers of passengers taking air transport in the future (upper limits at 16.5 billion for the world and 360 million for Australia) which may not seem likely at the first glance. However, a news report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) states that “The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 7.8 billion passengers to travel in 2036, a near doubling of the 4 billion air travellers expected to fly this year .” This claim is also supported by the logistic model which predicts about 7.1 billion passengers in 2036 and 7.8 billion in 2039. Since the majority of air transport growth occurs on the routes to, between or from the Asia-Pacific region, the aviation industry of Australia can be expected to expand as well.
According to the Airbus Global Market Forecast 2017-2036, domestic Australia/New Zealand has a rank of top 15th passenger flows in 2036 with 1.8 times the flows in 2016. The multiplier returns a result of around 131 million passengers in 2036 which is lower than the logistic model result of 156 million. Since the main driver of Australian aviation market is growing tourism from China and China is predicted to have the largest number of passengers taking air transportation , the rise in total passenger trips by aviation may exceed expectation and validate the logistic model. However, it is important to acknowledge differences in world aviation and regional aviation development because the latter is susceptible to more regional constraints and influences from multilateral relationships. The growth of aviation industry may not be as fast if the country’s GDP growth or demographic growth fall below the world average.
Birthing (1964 – 2009)
The first commercial flight took place on 2nd November 1964 between Sydney and Melbourne. Although there were earlier flights as far back as in 1922 when an 84-year-old pioneer Alexander Kennedy became the first passenger of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS) to fly from Charleville to Cloncurry, the domestic jet Essendon Airport in 1964 marked the first modern commercial airliner in Australia.
Prior to the advent of passenger travels, the aviation industry was mostly funded by airmail services and private investors (who were interested in the technology or races). It was during this period that most of the safety policies were constructed.
- The International Convention Relating to Air Navigation (Paris Convention) was signed in October 1919. The convention entered into force in Australia on 1 June 1922.
- The Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) was signed in December 1944. The convention entered into force in Australia on 4 April 1947.
- Other domestic aviation laws and policies in compliance with international conventions. Examples include Air Navigation Act 1920, Civil Aviation (Carrier’s Liability) Act 1959, the Civil Aviation Act 1988, the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998, Aviation Transport Security Act 2004, etc. Refer to Aviation Policy & Regulation for more details.
The policies and regulations of this period focus on the establishment of management systems, clarification of responsibilities and safety measures. Many practices use experiences from previous modes in regards to ticketing, cross-border operations and scheduled services.
Growth (2010 – present)
Since 2010, the number of passengers has exceeded 15% of the saturation status level (15th percentile). The growth becomes stable and is powered by Australia’s GDP growth. Since Australia has one of the highest propensity to fly, the growth can be expected to be sustained with Australia’s population growth.
The major policy which has come into force is Air Navigation Regulation 2016 which modifies and augments the Air Navigation Act 1920 to accommodate the modern development of technologies, licensing and international economic instruments. The focus of policies in the growth phase has mainly concentrated on training, licensing, international operations and sustainable economic (and environmental) growth of the industry. Deregulation of air services continues to raise market performance and quality of services.
The quantitative analysis suggests that civil aviation industry in Australia is still in its growth and has not yet reached the inflection year (when around 50% of the saturation status is achieved). The model suggests civil aviation in Australia would reach maturity after 2070. Any policy changes and market activities would only be marginal then and development in other transport technologies is anticipated.
the World Bank Data and Predicted Data
|Year||Number of Passengers (million)||Number of Predicted Passengers (million)|
- International Civil Aviation Organization. (2018, May 9). About ICAO. Retrieved from ICAO: Uniting Aviation, A United Nation’s Specialized Agency: https://www.icao.int/about-icao/Pages/default.aspx
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority. (2017). Key moments of Australian aviation safety history. Retrieved from Publications and resources, Civil Aviation Safety Authority: https://www.casa.gov.au/book-page/key-moments-australian-aviation-safety-history
- techievp. (2018, January 1). Advantages and Disadvantages of Air Transport. Retrieved from AdvantagesNDisadvantages: http://www.advantagesndisadvantages.com/advantages-disadvantages-air-transport.html
- Radeska, T. (2016, November 29). Montgolfier brothers- the inventors of the hot-air balloon. Retrieved from the Vintage News: https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/11/29/montgolfier-brothers-the-inventors-of-the-hot-air-balloon/
- Sharp, T. (2012, July 17). Space.com. Retrieved from The First Powered Airship | The Greatest Moments in Flight: https://www.space.com/16623-first-powered-airship.html
- The Pioneer. (2002, January 30). Sir George Cayley Bt. (1773 – 1857). Retrieved from Aviation and Aeromodelling – Interdependent Evolutions and Histories: http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/cayley.html
- Ackroyd, J. A. (2011). Sir George Cayley: The Invention of the Aeroplane near Scarborough at the Time of Trafalgar. Journal of Aeronautical History, 130-181. Retrieved from https://www.aerosociety.com/media/4862/sir-george-cayley-the-invention-of-the-aeroplane-near-scarborough-at-the-time-of-trafalgar.pdf
- Crouch, T. D. (2018). Wright brothers. Retrieved from ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Wright-brothers
- Garrison, W. L., & Levinson, D. M. (2014). The Transportation Experience Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
- The World Bank. (2018). Air transport, passengers carried. Retrieved May 7, 2018, from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IS.AIR.PSGR
- International Air Transport Association. (2017). 2036 Forecast Reveals Air Passengers Will Nearly Double to 7.8 Billion, Press Release No. 55. Geneva: International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2018. Retrieved from http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2017-10-24-01.aspx
- Airbus. (2017). Global Market Forecast: Growing Horizons 2017/2036. Blagnac Cedex, France: AIRBUS S.A.S. 2017. Retrieved from http://www.airbus.com/content/dam/corporate-topics/publications/backgrounders/Airbus_Global_Market_Forecast_2017-2036_Growing_Horizons_full_book.pdf
- Mott MacDonald. (2017). Annual Analyses of the EU: Air Transport Market 2016. Croydon, United Kingdom: European Commission. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/2016_eu_air_transport_industry_analyses_report.pdf
- australianaviation.com.au. (2014). Essendon Airport welcomed Australia’s first domestic jet 50 years ago. Sydney: Aviator Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved from http://australianaviation.com.au/2014/10/essendon-airport-welcomed-australias-first-jet-aircraft-50-years-ago/
- Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS). (2018). The Plane, the Place and the Passenger. Retrieved May 9, 2018, from https://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/history-birthplace/global/en?adobe_mc=MCMID%3D27604782118272538763134957598371799461%7CMCORGID%3D11B20CF953F3626B0A490D44%2540AdobeOrg%7CTS%3D1525868987
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority. (2017). Annual Report 2016-2017. Australia: Commonwealth of Australia 2017. Retrieved from https://www.casa.gov.au/sites/g/files/net351/f/annual_report1617.pdf?v=1508473202
- Morphet, H., & Bottini, C. (2015). Propensity to fly in emerging economies. Sydney: PwC. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/capital-projects-infrastructure/pdf/pwc-propensity-to-fly-in-emerging-economies.pdf