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New report highlights economic benefits of aviation

A new report on the socioeconomic benefits of aviation underscores the need to mainstream air transport development objectives in states’ national economic development planning to support the industry’s sustainable growth.

The second edition Aviation Benefits Report was launched recently by the global air transport Industry High Level Group, comprised of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Airports Council International, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, International Air Transport Association, and International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations.

The 2019 Aviation Benefits Report provides a consolidated view of aviation’s current socioeconomic impacts, challenges, and objectives, said ICAO in a statement.

Key priorities the report underscores include the need to mainstream air transport sector development objectives in states’ national economic development planning to optimize air connectivity as an economic development driver for travel, tourism, and trade.

Also highlighted is the need to promote diversified funding and financing sources for infrastructure development and modernization, and to continue to prioritize and assure air transport safety, security and efficiency through compliance by national governments with ICAO’s global standards.

While the 2019 edition confirms the US$2.7 trillion impact of international and domestic flights on global GDP and the 65.5 million jobs created by air transport activity around the world, it also provides regional snapshots for these indicators.

In the Asia-Pacific, for example, air transport currently supports 30.2 million jobs and $684 in GDP, it said.

The report also illustrates how international connectivity expands the ability of local communities and businesses to access foreign supplies and markets, enhances opportunities for cultural and social exchange, and its important contributions to emergency and humanitarian response capabilities.

With aviation traffic growth poised to double in the next 20 years, its environmental sustainability has become a critical factor in assuring that these benefits of international air transport can continue to be counted on even as the world works to address climate change.

The new report therefore calls on air transport stakeholders to reinforce their efforts to minimize the environmental effects from civil aviation activities, including by attaining the sector’s current aspirational goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020.

It also draws attentions to the integrated measures the aviation community has agreed to undertake to address aircraft noise and engine emissions. These include rapidly embracing technological and operational improvements; the increased development and accelerated deployment of sustainable aviation fuels; and offsetting global emissions through ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

In 2018, airlines worldwide carried around 4.3 billion passengers annually with 8.3 trillion revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs). Some 58 million tonnes of freight were transported by air, reaching 231 billion freight tonne kilometers (FTKs). Every day, more than 100,000 flights transport almost 12 million passengers and around $18 billion worth of goods.

Both air passenger traffic and air freight traffic are expected to more than double in the next two decades. By 2045, passenger traffic will reach over 22 trillion RPKs with a growth of 4.1% per annum, and freight will expand by 3.6% annually over the same time period, to 573 billion FTKs.

ICAO said this growth holds tremendous economic potential, which will support all states in achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2036, aviation will provide 98 million jobs and generate $5.7 trillion in GDP, a 110% increase from 2016.

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay


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