Boosting African jobs, economic activity through aviation

Air transport: supports 6.9 million jobs and $80.5 billion of region’s GDP

africa-jobs-logoGeneva, 29 April 2014 – The air transport industry plays an important role in supporting the growth of economies across Africa, according to a new study released today by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) at its Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. The report, Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders outlines how air transport supports 6.9 million jobs and $80.5 in billion gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa.

Often overlooked when discussing aviation are the benefits that the industry has ‘beyond the airport’. This includes supporting millions of jobs in the wider economy; enabling business trips, the travel of friends and relatives, tourism and the rapid delivery of cargo – including perishable food and flowers. Of the 6.9 million jobs supported across the African continent, 428,000 are within the industry itself and the rest are supported as part of the industry’s supply chain and the significant role air transport plays in the tourism sector.

ATAG executive director, Michael Gill, says that the report also outlines the worldwide impact of the industry, “Looking at the global benefits of aviation, our report identifies that the air transport industry supports over 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in GDP worldwide. At the current rate of growth, we expect aviation to support over 100 million jobs and $5.8 trillion in GDP around the world within two decades.”

ATAG has established a web resource to outline some of these benefits: www.aviationbenefits.org.

Commenting on the report, Dr. Elijah Chingosho, secretary general of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), said, “The report shows the crucial role played by air transport in Africa by providing connectivity that drives economic and social development. This should encourage governments to implement global standards in safety, security, regulations and taxation. Governments should support the growth of the industry by reducing high taxes, charges and fees on fuel and passengers, modernising infrastructure which is deficient at several airports, fully liberalising the African skies as well as reducing or removing the visa requirements”.

Ali Tounsi, Africa secretary general for Airports Council International Africa, said: “Over 267,000 people directly work on site at airports across the African continent – 63% of all the direct jobs in the aviation sector. What this new report shows is that the benefits of aviation spread far beyond the airports themselves, into local business and communities. Even if a number of people do not actually fly themselves today, through jobs supplying the industry or catering to tourists that aviation brings, a huge number of people benefit from the air transport system. As African aviation grows faster than the world average in the coming decades, governments across the region must take advantage of the economic and social benefits that better mobility can bring.”

Boni Dibate, director Africa affairs for the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), said: “CANSO aims to facilitate the growth in air traffic across Africa by providing seamless, efficient, cost-effective and safe air traffic services. ICAO’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs) will act as a catalyst for achieving this, particularly in addressing the lack of air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure in remote areas. States need to commit to implementing the aviation upgrades. Air navigation service providers are partnering with industry players to modernise and harmonise ATM through processes such as Collaborative Decision Making. CANSO is providing advice and training on ASBU implementation and its modules such as the roll-out of Performance-Based Navigation.”

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