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2016 | 26(4) | 79-95

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Failed Assessment of Mobility Needs – ‘White Elephant’ Airports

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Mobility is one of the most important factors to be considered in planning transport development. Mobility needs and patterns determine the use of transport means and infrastructure, therefore the scope of investment in new infrastructure or decisions to modernize already existing infrastructure elements should always be backed by a proper mobility analysis. The paper is devoted to the phenomenon of ‘white elephants’ in air transport, i. e. expensive to build as well as to maintain and at the same time useless airports. The decision to build such airports is not justified by a reliable socio-economic analysis but usually is a result of overgrown ambitions of the investor. Inherent characteristics of such investments is high capital intensity, overestimation of future usage, many deficiencies and low-quality solutions. The analysis of the ‘white elephants’ phenomenon is important not only because such investments lead to economic inefficiencies but also this wrong allocation may result in an excessive infrastructure supply in some areas while other remain underinvested, which may lead to a suboptimal development of mobility and may also skew mobility patterns.




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