Air transport is forecast to support 99.1 million jobs by 2034.

The contribution of the air transport industry in 20 years’ time

Several aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer, estimate the future demand for air transport in the form of revenue passenger kilometres. The most recent estimates suggest that demand for air transport will increase by an average of 4.3% per annum over the next 20 years. That implies that demand for air travel will increase by a factor of two and a half over the period.

If this growth path is achieved, then in 2034 the air transport industry will contribute:

  • 14.9 million direct jobs and $1.5 trillion of GDP to the world economy;
  • Including indirect and induced contributions, 39.6 million jobs and $3.9 trillion in GDP;
  • Once the impacts of global tourism are taken into account, a total of 99.1 million jobs and $5.9 trillion in GDP.

The impact of lower growth: a sensitivity analysis

As a result of any number of unexpected events, demand for air transport over the next 20 years may diverge from current expectations. How would the economic contribution of aviation change if global demand for air transport proves to be lower than expected? A sensitivity analysis can help to answer this question. By changing key assumptions driving the results, this type of analysis can indicate a reasonable range for alternative outcomes.

For example, if the average annual growth in passenger numbers for each region covered in this report turns out to be one percentage point lower than currently expected between 2014 and 2034, then in 2034:

  • Worldwide, there would be 1.4 million fewer direct jobs in the air transport sector.
  • Taking into consideration the direct, indirect, and induced impacts, there would be 3.8 million fewer jobs supported by air transport.
  • Once the impacts of tourism are included, the air transport sector would support a total of 10.4 million fewer jobs than would otherwise be the case under the baseline scenario.
  • Worldwide, the direct, indirect, and induced GDP for air transport would be $690 billion (2014 prices) lower than it otherwise would be. 
  • An additional $350 billion would be lost because of a reduction in tourism activity.