COVID-19: Aviation downturn puts up to 46 million jobs at risk

The headline

The severe downturn in air traffic this year followed by a slow recovery – caused by the COVID-19 crisis – could result in the loss of up to 46 million jobs supported by aviation around the globe. This is what a report published by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) revealed yesterday.

What the report highlights on jobs and economic impact

It is now widely known and understood how and why COVID-19 has had such a massive impact on aviation and aerospace. The impact so far, coupled with the uncertainty of when we can expect any kind of return to normality means that a significant number of jobs in the sector are at risk. It also means that beyond people directly employed within aviation and aerospace, millions of jobs supported in other sectors, such as tourism, are going to be lost.

Let’s take a look at the key figures highlighted in the report:

  • Pre-COVID (2018) 87.7 million jobs were supported by aviation thanks to a $3.5 trillion global economic impact of aviation.
  • COVID-19 has led to an expected reduction in passenger numbers of 2.3 billion, compared to 2019. This is just over 50%.
  • The result is an estimated $1.8 trillion reduction in economic activity supported by aviation.
  • This could lead to 4.8 million direct aviation jobs being lost, with 151,000 of these coming in civil aerospace.

How aviation and aerospace stepped up during the pandemic

The report also shines a light on the positive action that the global aviation and aerospace sector took during the height of the pandemic. It specifically picks out some of the efforts made here in the UK.

Our members did a fantastic job in shifting their focus to manufacturing PPE and were an integral part of VentilatorChallengeUK.

Government action is urgently required

The figures in this report are worrying, but they are the reality of where we’re at. This is why ADS continues to push the Government to take action to support the sector and save jobs.

Regular changes to what countries are and aren’t on the Government’s quarantine list are hampering efforts to get aircraft flying again. Until this is rectified, we won’t see a recovery for manufacturing.

We’ve worked with members and our colleagues in the aviation sector to set out the steps that Government needs to put in place to limit traveller quarantine and restart aviation. We understand the challenges but there is a path to overcoming them and testing lies the heart of it.