Skip to main content

Test Home
You & IATA


You are here: Home » Pressroom » Facts & Figures » Fact Sheets
  • Print this page
  • Share this page

Fact Sheet: Economic & Social Benefits of Air Transport

Study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) based on the Benefits of Aviation country reports commissioned by IATA in 2011

  • 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 56.6 million jobs globally 
  • It directly creates 8.4 million jobs worldwide 
  • Airlines, airports and air navigation service providers employ 7.6 million people 
  • The civil aerospace sector employs 800,000 people 
  • 9.3 million indirect jobs are created via purchases of goods and services from companies in the air transport supply chain 
  • 4.4 million jobs are induced through spending by industry employees 
  • 34.5 million direct and indirect jobs are created through air transport’s catalytic impact on tourism

Economic benefits

  • Aviation provides the only worldwide transportation system which makes it essential for global business and tourism  
  • Aviation transported around 3.1 (est.) billion passengers in 2013  
  • Aviation carries over 51.6 (est. 2013) million tonnes of freight annually and 35% of interregional exports of goods by value  
  • 51% of international tourists travel by air  
  • In a recent 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 (2010)

  • 1,568 commercial airlines 
  • 23,844 aircraft in commercial service (19,203 jets and 4,641 turboprops) 
  • 3,846 airports 
  • 26.7 million commercial aircraft movements

Air transport efficiency

  • Aviation occupancy rates of 78% (2011 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

Updated: December 2013


Additional information

© International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2014. All rights reserved.