Aviation is vital to the modern, globalised world, supporting millions of jobs and driving economic growth
ETW Staff – Mumbai
Aviation is vital to the modern, globalised world, supporting millions of jobs and driving economic growth. But the benefits of connectivity must be protected with appropriate support from governments if the air transport sector is to help fulfill its potential as a connector of people, trade and tourism and is a driver of sustainable development. These are the conclusions drawn in a new report, ‘Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders’, issued by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
Worldwide, aviation supports 62.7 million jobs and generates US$ 2.7 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP). Not only does air transport provide significant economic benefits, but it also plays a major role in the social development of people and communities all over the globe, allowing people to travel for educational opportunities and cultural exchange. Across Asia Pacific, specifically, air transport supports 28.8 million jobs and contributes US$ 626 billion to the region’s GDP.
In the next 20 years, forecasts suggest that aviation-supported jobs worldwide will increase to over 99 million and GDP to US$ 5.9 trillion. Asia Pacific boasts the highest share of global traffic at 33 per cent and aviation in the region is forecast to grow strongly at 5.1 per cent per annum for the next 20 years. With the liberalisation of the air transport market in the ASEAN region being agreed in 2015, the prospects for further growth is greatly increased, although government support is needed to help modernise airspace management and reduce congestion that could have a negative impact on growth.
Michael Gill, executive director, ATAG, said that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations highlights a number of goals that the international community should strive to achieve by 2030. “We found that air transport in some way supports 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, from decent work and economic growth to quality education and reduced inequalities. By continuing to grow in a sustainable manner, aviation can strive to be a force for good for many years to come,” said Michael Gill. “A significant factor in our work on sustainable development is the industry’s world-leading climate action plan. We need support from governments around the world to agree on a key part of that plan at the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly, where we hope an agreement can be reached on a global offsetting scheme for air transport. It is a vital part of our industry’s future role in helping to support development worldwide.”