The aviation industry supports 65.5 million jobs around the world. Some of these roles are within the industry itself, at airports, for airlines, and in civil aerospace and air navigation services, while other jobs are supported by the economic activity that air travel creates.
The aviation industry supports $2.7 trillion (3.6%) of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). If aviation were a country, it would rank 20th in size by GDP. That equates to the GDP of Switzerland or Argentina.
Thankfully we don't often experience what modern life would be like without air transport, but we caught a glimpse in 2010 when Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, grounding many flights for several days.