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Fact Sheet: Economic & Social Benefits of Air Transport

  • Study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG)
  • The study has global and regional figures including case studies of how aviation benefits people both economically and socially   
  • ATAG is an independent coalition of air transport organizations whose mission is to promote aviation’s sustainable growth for the benefit of the global society 
  • The full study is available at 

Key Findings

Air transport

  • Air transport drives economic and social progress
  • It connects people, countries and cultures
  • It provides access to global markets
  • It generates trade and tourism
  • It forges links between developed and developing nations


  • The air transport industry supports 58.1 million jobs globally 
  • It directly creates 8.7 million jobs worldwide 
  • Airlines, airports and air navigation service providers employ 7.6 million people 
  • The civil aerospace sector employs 1.2 million people 
  • 9.8 million indirect jobs are created via purchases of goods and services from companies in the air transport supply chain 
  • 4.6 million jobs are induced through spending by industry employees 
  • Almost 35 million direct and indirect jobs are created through air transport’s catalytic impact on tourism

Economic benefits

  • Aviation provides the only worldwide rapid transportation system which makes it essential for global business and tourism  
  • Aviation's total global impact is $2.4 trillion including direct, indirect and the catalytic effects of tourism
  • Aviation transported approximately 3.1 billion passengers in 2013  
  • Aviation carried over 49.8 million tonnes of freight in 2013 and 35% of interregional exports of goods by value  
  • 52% of international tourists travel by air  
  • In a 2009 survey of over 2,200 business people, 52% said that restrictions on the numbers of flights they take would hurt their business
  • Research conducted in the US suggests that every dollar invested in aerospace yields an extra $1.50 to $3.00 in economic activity

Air transport facts (2013)

  • 1,397 commercial airlines 
  • 25,332 aircraft in commercial service (30,101 jets and 5,231 turboprops) 
  • 3,864 airports 
  • 36.4 million commercial flights worldwide

Air transport efficiency

  • Aviation occupancy rates of 80% (2013 industry load factor) are better than those of road and rail 
  • Modern aircraft achieve fuel efficiencies of 3.5 liters per 100 passenger kilometers or 67 passenger miles per gallon

Social benefits

  • Aviation broadens people’s leisure and cultural experiences via wide choice/affordable access to destinations across the globe
  • Improves living standards and alleviates poverty through tourism
  • Often serves as the only means of transportation to remote areas promoting social inclusion
  • Contributes to sustainable development by:
    • Facilitating tourism and trade
    • Generating economic growth
    • Creating jobs
    • Increasing tax revenues
    • Facilitates the delivery of emergency and humanitarian aid relief
    • Swift delivery of medical supplies, organs for transplantation

For more information on the social and economic benefits of aviation, visit

December 2014


Additional information

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