Loughborough University
Thesis-2006-Grimley.pdf (1.76 MB)

Indicators of sustainable development in civil aviation

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posted on 2007-04-13, 09:02 authored by Paul M. Grimley
Civil aviation provides for large scale, rapid, safe and reliable transport over long distances. In the last half of the 20th century, the reliability of air transport has increased, safety has improved and costs have reduced: the volume of civil aviation has greatly increased and demand continues to rise. The social and economic benefits arising from aviation are substantial while its environmental costs are significant and increasing: with current technologies aviation is considered to be essentially unsustainable. Sustainable development as a concept, arose in the latter part of the 20th century. It may be regarded as a journey of changes through time, a journey navigating a wide range of changes in technology and behaviour thought to be needed to move towards a better level of sustainability. There is a need to apply the principles of sustainable development to the practice of the civil aviation industry. The research on which this thesis is based draws on sustainable development literature, general systems theory and quality principles to derive a holistic and systemic sustainable development model, and a methodology for deriving indicators of sustainable development. These are then applied to the civil aviation system, to select and construct indicators of sustainable development in civil aviation. The indicator selection process is participative, and seeks the views of stakeholders of UK civil aviation. Stakeholders are asked, via a Delphi study, to give their views on the meaning of sustainable aviation, and on the most important aspects of sustainable development in civil aviation. The research proposes a set of 29 indicators for sustainable development in civil aviation, including institutional and regulatory indicators. The research findings suggest that, amongst UK civil aviation stakeholders, there is some consensus on the important sustainability issues facing civil aviation, and on their choice of indicators. There is little understanding of the meaning of sustainable aviation, and disagreement on policies to adopt in favour of sustainable development in aviation. Amongst stakeholders from civil aviation organisations, there is strong opposition to regulatory or economic policies in favour of sustainable development. While the safety of civil aviation is institutionalised, there is evidence to suggest that opposition to other aspects of sustainable development is embedded in the regulatory and operational organisations of civil aviation in the UK.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en

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    Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering Theses


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