Air transportation plays an integral role in our way of life. Commercial airlines allow millions of people every year to attend business conventions, go home for the holidays, take vacations around the globe, or travel to other important events. 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. Therefore, how an aircraft is operated and exploited, and what is the cost of operating and maintaining an aircraft are questions to be assessed.

First, we need to understand the complex regulatory framework needed for reliable and safe air transportation. ICAO and IATA will be studied in Section 8.1.1 and Section 8.1.2, respectively. Second, for air transport economy we need to consider the performances of the aircraft studied in Chapter 7 and the particular characteristics of air transportation. Thus, this chapter will briefly focus on the types of aircraft and manufactures in Section 8.2, on the structure of costs of a typical airline in Section 8.3, and on aviation’s environmental fingerprint in Section 8.4. A good introductory reference is Navarro [8]. Thorough overviews
are given, for instance, in Pindado Carrión [11] and Belobaba et al. [2].