2. Aeronautics at the Centre of Change
Aeronautics has caused many of the changes that we have experienced. The availability of safe, reliable and rapid air transport has stimulated new business possibilities. It has provoked important developments in our infrastructure, work patterns and lifestyle. It has contributed massively to the economies of Europe and the wealth of a number of its regions; it employs a huge workforce and, through exports, contributes strongly to Europe's ability to fund other changes and to develop the quality of life of its citizens.
Aeronautics has also enabled changes to happen. Businesses can reach out to new customers world-wide. Just-in-time stock management is made possible by reliable air freight operations. The globalisation of business depends on the existence of flexible, inexpensive air transport to connect operations.
As the new century unfolds we expect the continued growth and industrialisation of Asia to continue. Those developments will depend extensively on aeronautics.
In the past progress in aeronautics has meant aircraft development: the advent of the jet age, of supersonic flight, of large twin-aisle airliners. Aircraft will still remain at the focus but when we look to the future we shall continue to look beyond aircraft, even aircraft of new configurations, to the system of air transport - optimised air fleets, the airports, traffic control, regulatory regimes etc - within which aircraft operate. The capacity of our present air transport system is clearly under stress. As traffic increases we must make this system respond to world change and drive new changes to the benefit of the European citizen which respect the social and environmental needs of our communities.
are major challenges certainly. But they are also major opportunities.
Aeronautics has been able to make a strong contribution to the growth
of Europe - it should continue to do so. It can be a continuing engine
for economic development. It can continue to fund, through its export
successes, the creation of an air transport system in Europe which is
world leading. It will contribute to business efficiency but also bring
a range of benefits to people of all our nations - whether they are
travellers or not. Economic and employment benefits, improvements in
the quality of life, enhancements to their businesses, the opportunity
to travel more economically.