Aviation is one of the world’s great connectors of people, enabling a vast amount of trade and tourism. Haldane Dodd Executive Director, ATAG
Aviation enhances the prosperity of the communities it serves and provides jobs, economic growth and opportunities. It offers lifelines for those living in remote places, enables the transport of time-sensitive goods, provides vital relief when disaster strikes and when there is an urgent need to move medical supplies and personnel, such as during the critical stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These benefits also have an environmental cost. For aviation to grow sustainably, it is vital that we balance the advantages of growth in air travel with the responsibility to pursue action on climate change.
In 2015, the United Nations announced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was accompanied by a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aviation has a role to play in 15 of these goals.
In 2017, ATAG released a report entitled Flying in Formation. This serves as a guide to help place the SDGs in an aviation context and provides ideas for inclusion of them into corporate strategies.
Sustainable development is about taking the three priorities of the economy, society and the environment and finding ways of balancing these to produce the results that will benefit most people.
One of the ways in which ATAG works to raise awareness of sustainable development and aviation’s role is via a publication issued every two years entitled Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders. The report sets out the ways in which aviation contributes to the economy, jobs and lives of millions of people around the world and how it is addressing its environmental impacts.
The most recent edition was published in 2020. It explores the role that aviation played in the pre-pandemic world by analysing the economic and social benefits of aviation at a national level in 80 countries and uses the results of that assessment to build the most comprehensive global picture of air transport’s many benefits.
An update was released at the end of 2021, analysing the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown on aviation and its ability to provide jobs and contribute to the global economy. The contrast between normal times and the situation at the end of 2021 was stark, serving to highlight the vital role of aviation for our society.