From the Blog

Aircraft and the development of passenger travel


Currently the fastest way to travel around the world is on an aircraft. Many people rely on this service in order to work as they visit different offices and customers around the globe. The tourist industry is reliant on the aircraft industry to transport its passengers from their home countries to their holiday destinations. Traveling by air is nowadays affordable for the majority of people and it is only the minority that have not experienced this form of travel. This has not always been the case and it wasn’t long ago that flying by air was only experienced by the most affluent.

The Boeing 707

Commercial air travel has only been in operation since the end of the Second World War. This period of conflict resulted in many technological developments in aircraft and at the end of the war people started to realize the possibilities of re-designing the planes, so that they could transport large numbers of people. Initially the large Avro Lancaster and B29s were converted into civil aircraft but by 1952 the British State airline the BOAC had introduced the de Havilland Comet into service. This was the first jet plane to be introduced for commercial service and in May 1952 the first 32 fare paying passengers flew to Johannesberg. The flights soon proved to be successful but the comet started to experience problems. The first fatal accident happened on 3rd March 1953 when a Canadian Pacific Airlines Comet crashed on take-off at Karachi airport killing all 11 on board. More accidents followed and it was taken out of service in order to replaceits windows with round shaped ones reducing the cabin pressure.

When its service resumed other jet airliners had emerged. The Boeing 707 was the first jet liner to be a commercial success. The plane emerged in 1958 carrying over 100 passengers and travelling 100 mph faster than the comet. The 707 soon became the most popular aircraft of its time. As sales increased around the world so did the building of airport terminals. The new 707 needed proper runways and also areas where passengers could load, pass through customs and also have refreshments made available to them.

This was also the time when air traffic control centres started to be established. The greater number of both civil and military planes in the skies, meant the flights needed to be planned in order to lessen the possibility of catastrophic mid-air collisions. The 707 was replaced in 1970 with the Boeing 747, commonly known as the “Jumbo Jet”. This new jet could travel further and hold more passengers. A maximum 660 passengers could be transported and this held the record for 37 years and the plane is still in service today.

The Airbus A380 can carry up to 853 passengers

The plane that can carry the most passengers is the Airbus A380 and it can carry up to 853 people. The company is European with production plants in Germany, Spain, France, UK, China and the United Staates. It has broken Boeing’s monopoly on the industry and its main customers are Emirates Airline. One of the most highly publicized commercial airline ventures was that of Concorde. Famed for the plane’s appearance, the joint UK and France venture produced the fastest commercial aircraft service that ran from 1976 until 1003.

It only held up to 128 passengers but could travel faster than the speed of sound and the time of covering the transatlantic crossings from either, Heathrow or Paris, to New York was twice as fast as the other airlines. The problem was that that the price of the tickets were so high that the flights were only for the very rich. Space on the aircraft was also sparse and the planes gave off sonic bomb as they accelerated away from the airports.

The future of the airline was put in Jeopardy after the crash in Paris in 2000 where all of the 109 people on board were killed and 3 years later, amid uncertainty in the civil aviation’s future, the plane was taken out of service. Today civil aviation is booming with huge competition among the major airlines for passengers.