Let us first try to roughly describe transport as that economical activity aimed at transporting people from one place to another. If one thinks on his/her daily activity, time dedicated to travel consumes an important share within a day (estimated in 10-15% on average). In selecting the transportation mean, one would think first on availability and then in a trade-off between time and cost (other metrics might come into play, such as confort, safety perception, environmental perception, etc.).
Air transportation has become paramount since it plays an integral role in our way of life. Commercial airlines allow millions of people every year to attend business conventions or take vacations around the globe. Air transportation also represents the fastest way to ship most types of cargo over long distances. Air transportation must be seen both as a business and as a technical and operational activity, in which many stakeholders are involved. Thus, air transport can be defined as follows:
Multi-stakeholder industrial added value chain, whose ultimate goal is to provide of the service of air travel from one point to another to an end user: the passenger.
Notice that typically the air transportation is seen as a multi-modal transportation between one point (home; office) to the origin airport and from the destination airport to another point (hotel; business center). Notice also that a value chain is a set of activities that firm operating in a specific industry performs in order to deliver a valuable product or service to the market. In particular the air transportation activity is participated by many stakeholders, including: airports, air navigation services providers, manufacturers (and its providers), airlines (and its service providers), etc.1 Thus, when one pays for a flight ticket, the price is distributed among the different stakeholders that contribute adding value to the product (service of flying), i.e., the airline as operator of the aircraft, the manufacturer as producer of the aircraft (in turn, paying all the engineering needed for the design, development and manufacturing of an aircraft), the airport as provider of take-off, landing, and processing service, the air navigation service provider as provider of air navigation services (communications, navigation, surveillance, ATM services, etc.), etc.
1. Notice that airports and air navigation service providers will be analysed in Chapter 9 and Chapter 10, respectively. In this chapter we will focus on manufacturers and airlines.