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Friday, 29 June 2012

Cheap Air Travel

Read the article below and write an essay on the following topic.

Some people think the recent increase in cheap air travel brings benefits, while other people think it has drawbacks to the environment and the world’s resources. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

The Article

Air travel has always been considered the privilege of the higher classes, especially in the developing nations of the world.  The economically backward sections of the society always had to distance themselves from travelling by air on account of lack of affordability.

The liberalization of airline policies by the government and the recent increase in the number of aircraft operators has intensified competition in this field.  Consequently, airfares have dropped drastically in the recent times.  A low-cost carrier is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts. To make up for revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline may charge for extras like food, priority boarding, seat allocating, and baggage etc.

This situation has not only enabled airline travelers to fly more frequently but also made it possible even for the lower income group to have access to this elite mode of travel.  A major category of beneficiaries of this development is the small or medium businessmen who once could afford to travel by air only on important assignments or emergencies are now able to avail this facility more often using budget flights and economy fares.  Many believe that this can definitely have a positive impact on their business prospects, as a result of more business meetings and transactions.

Cheap air fares have broadened travel possibilities and created a trend for weekend breaks in exotic locations.  A number of low-cost airlines have sprung up in different parts of the world and they offer national and international travel at a much lower cost compared to the regular carriers.  The new entrants into the field like Tiger Airways and Air Asia have offered substantial reduction in tariff to popular tourist destinations like Thailand and Malaysia. 

Budget airlines have also created many new jobs for pilots, airline crew and ground staff.  This is a huge advantage for the unemployed in the recession economies of the world.

But if air travel is allowed to grow unchecked in this way, environmentalists believe, it will spell disaster for the planet. More flights mean bigger, busier airports, which in turn leads to more noise and growing problems with air quality for those who live and work close to airports.

Perhaps the biggest concern is the effect on global warming. Burning aviation fuel releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the environment, causing the earth to heat up more.  And aircraft from India to the US , per passenger, produces as much carbon dioxide as a year's driving by the average motorist, according to environmental campaign groups.

Low cost carriers have mostly a positive effect on both people’s budgets as well as economy in general. While providing new working positions for the unemployed they also give their passengers a chance to save their money and travel more for less.

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