Flightpath 2050 revisited – An analysis of the 4-hour-goal using flight schedules and origin-destination passenger demand data

Key benefits of aviation are the provision of connectivity and the reduction of travel times compared to other transport modes. The High Level Group on Aviation Research has laid out in its Flightpath 2050 document the goal that “90% of travellers within Europe are able to complete their journey, door-to-door within 4 hours”. To the authors' best knowledge, this objective has not been further specified in any other official document. The wording leaves considerable room for interpretation when assessing the level of goal achievement. The authors discuss different approaches for interpretation and apply a connectivity modelling approach to examine the respective degree of goal achievement. For the analysis, the authors use flight schedules and origin-destination passenger demand data at airport-pair level. Different assumptions on airport access and egress times have been made in order to simulate the door-to-door travel chain. In contrast to very detailed studies on the topic, conducted e.g. by the project DATASET2050, the authors' methodology can be applied easily on available demand and schedules data, so that the progress of the 4-hour-goal can be monitored quickly. Moreover, the authors' approach allows for a quick analysis of sensitivities. The authors find that a relatively large share of intra-European air passengers travel over distances where the 4-hour-goal cannot be achieved realistically, as even when non-stop flights exist, distances are too far to accomplish a trip within four hours with speeds of sub-sonic passenger aircraft. Moreover, an improvement of connectivity with more non-stop flights seems to be limited, as already today, about 93.5% of intra-European travellers fly on non-stop flights. Limited improvement could be achieved in accelerating airport processes or in applying small air transport / air taxi concepts from smaller airports, which could reduce airport access and egress travel times and distances.


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  • Accession Number: 01729925
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 31 2020 11:58AM