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Wed, 3 Oct 2018

Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders

The global air transport sector supports 65.5 million jobs and $2.7 trillion in global economic activity, according to new research released this week by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).

The report, Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, explores the fundamental role civil aviation plays for today’s society and addresses the economic, social and environmental impacts of this global industry.

Launching the report at the ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, ATAG’s Executive Director, Michael Gill, said, "Let’s take a step back and think about how advances in air transport have changed the way people and businesses connect with each other - the reach we have today is extraordinary. More people in more parts of the world than ever before are taking advantage of safe, fast and efficient travel. There are over 10 million women and men working within the industry to make sure 120,000 flights and 12 million passengers a day are guided safely through their journeys. The wider supply chain, flow-on impacts and jobs in tourism made possible by air transport show that at least 65.5 million jobs and 3.6% of global economic activity are supported by our industry."

Philippine Airlines Airbus A321 reg: RP-C9932 and Jet Airways Airbus A330-200 reg: VT-JWV at Changi Airport in Singapore. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com from a Runway Room at the multi-award winning Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel. Click to enlarge.

The report also looks at two future scenarios for growth in air traffic and related jobs and economic benefits. With an open, free-trade approach, the growth in air transport will support some 97.8 million jobs and $5.7 trillion in economic activity in 2036. However, if governments create a more fragmented world with isolationism and protectionist policies, over 12 million fewer jobs and $1.2 trillion less in economic activity would be supported by air transport.

"By working with one another, learning from each other’s cultures and trading openly, we not only create a stronger economic outlook, but we also continue the conditions for peaceful interaction across the globe. Aviation is the key driver for this positive connectivity," Gill added.

Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International, said, "Airports are crucial links in the air transport value chain that drive economic and social benefits for the local, regional, and national communities they serve. Airports act as catalysts for employment, innovation, and improved global connectivity and trade. In responding to the growing global demand for air services, airports – in partnership with the wider aviation community – are also taking a lead role in minimising and mitigating the environmental effects of aviation and pursuing sustainable development."

Key facts outlined in Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, include:

- Air transport supports 65.5 million jobs and $2.7 trillion in global economic activity;

- Over 10 million people work directly for the industry itself;

- Air travel carries 35% of world trade by value ($6.0 trillion worth in 2017), but less than 1% by volume (62 million tonnes in 2017);

- Airfares today are around 90% lower than the same journey would have cost in 1950 – this has enabled access to air travel by greater sections of the population;

- If aviation was a country, it would have the 20th largest economy in the world – around the same size as Switzerland or Argentina;

- Aviation jobs are, on average, 4.4 times more productive than other jobs in the economy; and

Scope of the industry: 1,303 airlines fly 31,717 aircraft on 45,091 routes between 3,759 airports in airspace managed by 170 air navigation service providers.

The Director General of the International Business Aviation Council, Kurt Edwards, said, "All sectors of aviation contribute to the industry's benefits globally. The business aviation sector employs almost 1.5 million people around the world, contributes  hundreds of billions of dollars to the global economy, and provides connections to and economic activity in remote regions and underserved locations. Business aviation allows businesses to thrive in small or medium-size towns and to stay connected to the rest of the world. Often, business aircraft operations at a remote airstrip serve as the catalyst for economic development in small communities."

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