Development of Regional Airports
The importance of the air transport system is widely recognized not only as a
mean to quickly cover long distances, but also as an economic engine for all
communities. Aeronautical industries, airports and airlines are some of the main
actors that, each one in its own field, compete for the air transport market.
The capability to cover long distances in reduced time with respect to other
means of transport is one of the most successful factors that have contributed
to the growth of the air transport system; as an example, the technological
developments and the increase of civilian routes between Europe and North
America have caused the end of intercontinental travels by ships, that at the
beginning of the 21st century represented the only means of transport to go from
the old to the new continent.
The continuous development and the results obtained by the aeronautical
industries have increased the level of safety, the comfort and the efficiency of the
Today, the air transport system provides the only means that can be used to
reach remote or inaccessible areas, or regions not well served by land transport
systems; it is irreplaceable for medical emergencies and humanitarian assistance;
it is a source of integration between different communities as well as a source of
economic development for the region served by air carriers.
In short, the air transport system plays not only an important role as means of
transport but also as a social connector and economic engine.
The main actors of the air system are airport planners, air companies (mainly
grouped in full carriers vs. low-cost companies) and users (passengers and/or
freights) that can produce important demand levels at airports, thanks to their
In the air transport system, airports are the nodes of the system, while routes
are the links among nodes. In many countries, and especially in European
countries, location and characteristics of the airports are defined at central level,
while links are established thanks to the services offered by the air carriers.
Airports are important elements of the air transport system because they
represent interchange nodes among land transport systems and the air transport
system, and also because they are the air traffic control centres. The main
characteristics of an airport depend on the expected number of passengers and
movements, the performed function and the kind of routes being offered.