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Background

Aviation has experienced rapid expansion as the world economy has grown.  Passenger and freight movements by air continue to increase, making air travel the fastest growing sector amongst all transportation modes.

Managing the global air transportation system to ensure continued economic and social benefits while mitigating environmental impacts is becoming a major challenge. The system is large, complex, multi-disciplinary and involves numerous stakeholders with different agendas. Therefore, sustainable development of the system depends crucially on the delivery to policymakers and stakeholders of robust results incorporating improved understanding of the processes and interactions between the key system elements that determine environmental, societal and economic impacts. There is an urgent need to model the contributions of aviation at local and global levels in order to assess the best aviation policies to be pursued in the future that strike appropriate balances between these key indicators.

This website describes a new initiative to create such a policy assessment tool: the Aviation Integrated Modelling (AIM) project. Originally based in Cambridge University's Institute for Aviation and the Environment, this inter-disciplinary project was initiated in October 2006 with approximately £1m funding from UK research councils (primarily EPSRC and NERC) for its initial, 3 year phase. This first phase of the project modelled and integrated a wide range of key elements relevant to this goal: click on the links on the left to find out more.

Now based at University College London's Energy Institute, AIM has entered a new phase with the start of the ACCLAIM (Airport Capacity Consequences for the London region – Aviation Integrated Modelling) project in October 2015. This three-year project, a collaboration with Imperial College and Southampton University, sees AIM's modelling capabilities expanded on passenger choice, airline behaviour and environmental and economic impacts with the aim of assessing the local and wider system impacts of decisions whether or not to expand airport capacity.