The latest Aviation: Benefit Beyond Borders report makes clear the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the air transport industry.

Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill said: “With the expectation that we will see less than half the passenger traffic this year than we carried in 2019, we know that a lot of jobs in air transport and the wider economy relying on aviation are at risk.

“Our analysis shows that up to 4.8 million jobs in aviation may be lost by the beginning of next year, a 43% reduction from pre-COVID levels. When you expand those effects across all the jobs aviation would normally support, 46 million jobs are at risk. These include highly-skilled aviation roles, the wider tourism jobs impacted by the lack of air travel and employment throughout the supply chain in construction, catering supplies, professional services and all the other things required to run a global transport system.”

Around 58% of tourists arrive at their destination by air and the stop in air traffic has created a massive negative effect on that industry as well. Over $630 billion in reduced GDP benefits from air travel-related tourism will be matched with 26.4 million jobs lost. But tourism in a wider sense is also very hard-hit, with analysis suggesting the pandemic could translate into a drop of 850 million to 1.1 billion international tourists and a loss of $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in export revenues from tourism, putting 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk.

Impact of COVID-19:

  • Aviation-supported jobs potentially fall by 46 million to 41.7 million (-52.5%)
  • Direct aviation jobs (at airlines, airports, manufacturers and air traffic management) fall by 4.8 million (a 43% reduction compared with pre-COVID situation)
  • Nearly 39,200 special repatriation flights took nearly 5.4 million citizens home after borders closed in March 2020
  • Nearly 46,400 special cargo flights transported 1.5 million tonnes of cargo, mostly medical equipment, to areas in need during the height of the pandemic response
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