About Air Transportation

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(Image: Boeing, Bombardier, Ryanair, KLM)

The air-transport business flourished almost immediately after the invention of the aircraft in 1903, especially as a mail and passenger service. The industry blossomed in the postwar era, with the United States having the advantage because, unlike Europe, it did not suffer many wartime civilian aviation restrictions. Today, airlines transport freight and passengers largely through partnerships with other airlines as cost-saving measures.

Big Five

Embraer, Bombardier, Airbus, Boeing and Tupolev are the major aircraft builders, producing civil freight and passenger planes to the world's airline companies.

Early post-war era of air transportation.
Early post-war era of air transportation.

Service Levels

Airlines, ranging from Ryanair to American Airlines, specialize in passenger and fright transport in specific areas such as intercontinental, domestic and international services.

Embraer is one of the world's leading passenger and freight aircraft manufacturers.
Embraer is one of the world's leading passenger and freight aircraft manufacturers.

Jumbo Jets

Air transport experienced its most significant boost since the early postwar era with the introduction of the jumbo jet, most notably the Boeing 747, in 1969, allowing airlines to function more economically and at greater capacity.

KLM Airlines immediately bought the new Boeing 747 jumbo jets in the early 1970s.
KLM Airlines immediately bought the new Boeing 747 jumbo jets in the early 1970s.

Deregulation

The United States deregulated the airline industry in 1978, leading to airfare wars, startup freight and regional passenger transport, and the decline of some major carriers, such as Pan Am.

FedEx is a leading air carrier of freight.
FedEx is a leading air carrier of freight.

Low-Cost Carriers

Low-cost airlines by the late 1990s ruled the skies by offering low fares unmatched by the larger, more-established carriers, thus allowing passengers of any income to travel.

Bombardier has emerged as a leading builder of passenger aircraft.
Bombardier has emerged as a leading builder of passenger aircraft.

Economic Downtown

By 2008, rising fuel costs, competition from low-cost carriers and a severe worldwide recession forced airlines to slash airfares, eliminate routes and send planes into the air with less-than-full capacity.

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