Supporting economic & social development

Aviation helps drive the development of the modern world. A network of airlines, airports and air traffic management organisations link major cities and small communities 24 hours a day with increasingly advanced aircraft. Haldane Dodd Executive Director, ATAG

Air transport provides significant economic and social benefits. It facilitates tourism, trade, connectivity, generates economic growth, provides jobs, improves living standards, alleviates poverty, provides a lifeline for remote communities and enables a rapid response when disasters occur.

Air transport is a major global employer, supporting a total of 87.7 million jobs worldwide and providing 11.3 million direct jobs. Aviation enables $3.5 trillion in global GDP. If aviation were a country, it would be the 17th largest economy in the world, supporting nearly 3.5 trillion dollars in economic impact.

million jobs worldwide

An enabler of tourism, 58% of all international tourists travel to their destinations by air. Air transport allows people to have adventures in new countries, to relax on tropical beaches, to build business relationships and to visit friends and family. As our global economy grows ever more linked, aviation is the factor that brings people together.

international tourists travelling by air

In September 2020, ATAG published the latest edition of its flagship report, Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, which explores the various ways in which aviation contributes to the economy, jobs, the lives of millions of people around the world and how it contributes to sustainable development. The report has become a key reference tool among industry, governments and academics and is widely cited by the media. It provides policymakers with the important global view of how air travel creates jobs and drives economic growth.

Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders also provides detailed regional summaries for: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, North America, APEC economies, the EU, small island states, developing countries, OECD countries, least-developed countries and landlocked developing countries.

  • Africa: Air transport supports 7.7 million jobs in the region and $63 billion in GDP. Air traffic in Africa is expected to continue to grow at about 3.4% per year over the next two decades.
7.7 million
jobs in Africa
  • Asia-Pacific: The region with the highest levels of passenger traffic, transporting 1.7 billion passengers worldwide. Air transport in the region supports 46.7 million jobs and $944 billion of the country’s GDP. Air traffic in Asia-Pacific is expected to continue to grow at about 4.2% per year over the next two decades, accounting for the largest growth rate worldwide.
$944 billion
GDP contribution in Asia-Pacific

Europe: This is the second largest market after Asia-Pacific, transporting 1.2 billion passengers, and supporting 13.5 million jobs in total (out of which 2.7 million jobs are created by the aviation industry itself) and $991 billion in European economic activity. It is expected that air travel in Europe will continue to grow at about 2.1% per year over the next twenty years.

13.5 million
jobs in Europe

Latin America and the Caribbean: The aviation sector in Latin America and the Caribbean supports 7.7 million jobs and $187 billion in economic activity.

$187 billion
economic activity in Latin America & the Caribbean

Middle East: Air transport supports 3.4 million jobs and $213 billion in GDP. There is a potential growth of 4.1% per year in the region’s air travel over the next decade.

3.4 million
jobs in the Middle East

North America: Air transport supports 8.7 million jobs in total and $1.1 trillion in North American economic activity.

$1.1 trillion
economic activity in North America

In September 2021, ATAG produced an updated fact sheet analysing the economic impact of Covid-19 on aviation. It found that 44.6 million jobs supported by aviation were estimated to be at risk due to the pandemic, as well as $1.7 trillion in economic activity that is normally supported by aviation.

See the ATAG Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders website to download free-of-charge the latest version of the report, regional analyses and explanatory video.