Air Transport in Asia-Pacific Region

by Abubakar Shoaib
Asia-Pacific

Air transport supports 46.7 million jobs and $944 billion in Asia-Pacific economic activity. That is 2.5% of all employment and 3.1% of all GDP in Asia-Pacific countries in 2018.

Every person employed by the aviation sector directly or in aviation enabled tourism supported another ten jobs elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. Similarly, $3.20 of economic activity was supported elsewhere in Asia-Pacific for every $1 created by the air transport sector.

Employment Contribution in Asia-Pacific

The aviation sector in the Asia-Pacific region employed nearly 4.2 million people directly in 2018. Analysis of these workers suggests:

  • 1.8 million workers (42% of the total) were employed by airlines or handling agents as flight crew, check-in staff, maintenance crew, or head office staff
  • 271,000 (6%) worked with airport operators in roles like airport management, maintenance, and security
  • 1.9 million (45%) worked on-site in airports at retail outlets, restaurants, and hotels.
  • 176,000 (4%) were employed in civil aircraft manufacturing, including systems, components, airframes, and engines
  • 80,000 (2%) worked for air navigation service providers in jobs such as air traffic control and engineering

GDP Contribution in the Region

Airlines, airport operators, airport retailers, navigation services, and civil aircraft manufacturers contribute to GDP in Asia-Pacific countries. In 2018, the operations of these businesses contributed $225 billion directly to GDP.

It is estimated that the aviation sector’s supplier spending supported a further 10.1 million jobs and a $203 billion contribution to GDP. In addition, spending by those employed in the aviation sector and its supply chain supported 7.0 million more jobs and a $162 billion contribution to GDP.

Aviation also facilitates a substantial amount of tourism in the Asia-Pacific region. This stimulates yet more economic activity, as tourists spend their money in restaurants, hotels, retailers, tour operators, and other consumer goods and services. In 2018, spending by those who flew to Asia-Pacific countries supported an estimated 25 million jobs and a $354 billion contribution to GDP.

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