Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

8.1.3: Facts and Figures

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    As it was introduced at the beginning of the Chapter, Air transportation plays an integral role in today’s society. Let us analyse some numbers that support this affirmation.

    Socioeconomic importance of air transport

    First, it should be highlighted its socioeconomic relevance. The following aspects should be considered:

    • The air transportation industry (in some forums generally refereed to as aviation industry) is a high-technological industry with high economical impact, including high skilled jobs and an important contribution to richness and wellness (increases productivity by encouraging innovation).
    • The air transportation industry is essential for globalisation, facilitating international meetings and the shipping of goods.

    • The air transportation industry is an important instrument for regional integration, e.g., Islands, yet also a touristic catalyst.

    • Due its inherent characteristics, the air transportation industry needs for huge amount of capital. This make it a key strategic asset for countries, including subsidizes and Government intervention.

    • Linked to the later, it is used as international political instrument.

    Quantitative Figures

    We provide herein some numbers for Europe and US:

    Europe: Roughly 30,000 flights fly over European skies on a daily basis; representing 11 million flights and 1,600 million passengers per year. From an economic perspective, the aviation industry is considered a strategic activity given its economic and societal impact. The air transport industry in Europe directly employs between 1.4 and 2 million jobs and contributes €110 billion (roughly 0.8%) to European gross domestic product (GDP). The total impacts (direct + indirect + induced) mean the air transport sector supports between 4.8 and 5.5 million jobs and contributed €510 billion (roughly 3.6%) to GDP in Europe.2 The aviation industry is an important economic asset for Europe. Moreover, as a sector, it invests heavily in research, development, and innovation (RDI).

    United States: The aviation sector in EU today3 employs between 1.4 and 2 million people (desegregated numbers: air traffic management 65.000, airports 156.000, airlines 579.800, and aerospace 379.600: total employment in air transport was 800.800 vs. 379.600 in aerospace) and indirectly supports between 4.8 and 5.5 million jobs.

    Needless to say, other sources to check this information (updated and extended to other regions if desired by the reader) include:

    • Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), which provides a global vision of Air Transport;
    • IATA, which also provides a global vision shifted towards the airline industry. IATA includes the WATS (World Air Transport Statistics) and the Economic Performance of the Airline Industry with data on fleets, airline rankings, demand, etc.
    • Other sources (in this case pure data) include for instance: the ICAO data+ database; the USDOT (US Department of Transportation); and the MIT Airline Data Program.

    2. Steer Davies Gleave: Study on employment and working conditions in air transport and airports, Final report 2015 & Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, Report prepared by Oxford Economics for ATAG, April 2014. EU’s GDP in 2014 was €14.000 bi.

    3. Air Transport and Aerospace Education Synergies and Differences. A. Kazda. Workshop on education and training needs for aviation engineers and researchers in Europe; September 23 2015; Brussels. URL:—synerg.pdf

    8.1.3: Facts and Figures is shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Manuel Soler Arnedo via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

    • Was this article helpful?