Handbook on Wealth and the Super-Rich
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Handbook on Wealth and the Super-Rich

Edited by Iain Hay and Jonathan V. Beaverstock

Fewer than 100 people own and control more wealth than 50 per cent of the world’s population. The Handbook on Wealth and the Super-Rich is a unique examination of both the lives and lifestyles of the super-rich, as well as the processes that underpin super-wealth generation and its unequal distribution. Drawing on a multiplicity of international examples, leading experts from across the social sciences offer a landmark multidisciplinary contribution to emerging analyses of the global super-rich and their astonishing wealth. The book’s 22 accessible and coherently organised chapters cover a range of captivating topics from biographies of illicit super-wealth, to tax footprint reduction, to the environmental consequences of super-rich lives and their conspicuous consumption.
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Chapter 15: Flights of indulgence (or how the very wealthy fly): the aeromobile patterns and practices of the super-rich

Lucy Budd


Following the first heavier-than-air powered human flight in December 1903, aircraft have been important symbols of socioeconomic progress and technological modernity. In a little over a century, civil aviation has evolved from being an elite and elitist mode of mobility, utilized only by a very small minority of society’s most affluent members, into a multibillion-dollar commercial enterprise that facilitates the routine global mobility of over 3 billion passengers and 50 million tonnes of airfreight every year (ATAG, 2012). During the latter half of the twentieth century, progressive regulatory reform of the global air transport industry, combined with the introduction of more fuel-efficient aircraft and the formation of new airline business models, has reduced the financial cost of flying and enabled more people to fly to more places more frequently than ever before. However, the emergence and subsequent rapid expansion of low-cost carriers in the deregulated and liberalized markets of North America, Europe and parts of Asia, the Middle East, Australasia, Africa and Latin America, and the swift response of extant full-service operators to this new competitive threat, has led to growing social segregation and stratification in the skies as airlines seek ever more elaborate ways to differentiate their in-flight products and service offerings in what has become a highly contestable and price-sensitive market.

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