Air Transport is the most recent mode of transport. It is the gift of the 20th century to the world. The two world wars gave a great impetus to the development of air transport in almost all the countries of the world. The peculiar characteristic of air transport is that is does not need a specific surface track for its operations.
It has no physical barriers as in the case of other mode of transport. Political boundaries are also immaterial although it has to observe the requirements of the International Law. The supreme advantage of air transport lies in its quickness.
It is the fastest mode of transport. But the cost of its operation is very high and thus it is suitable for only rich passengers, mails and light and costly cargo. However, in advanced countries like U.S.A., Germany, etc. it offers a tough competition to the railways.
In spite of many advantages, air transport has the following limitations
- Very Costly
It is the costliest means of transport. The fares of air transport are so high that it is beyond the reach of the common man.
- Small Carrying Capacity
Its carrying capacity is very small and hence it is not suitable to carry cheap and bulky goods.
- Uncertain and Unreliable
Air transport is uncertain and unreliable as it is controlled to a great extent by weather conditions. Unfavourable weather such as fog, snow or heavy rain etc. may cause cancellation of scheduled flights and suspension of air service.
- Breakdowns and Accidents
The chances of breakdowns and accidents are high as compared to other modes of transport. Hence, it involves comparatively greater risk.
- Large Investment
It requires a large amount of capital investment in the construction and maintenance of aeroplanes. Further, very trained and skilled persons are required for operating air service.
- Specialised Skill
Air transport requires a specialized skill and high degree of training for its operation.
- Unsuitable for Cheap and Bulky Goods
Air transport is unsuitable for carrying cheap, bulky and heavy goods because of its limited capacity and high cost.
- Legal Restrictions
There are many legal restrictions imposed by various countries in the interest of their own national unity and peace.