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Aviation Industry Contribution in Africa

by Abubakar Shoaib

Air transport supports 7.7 million jobs and $63 billion in Africa. That is 2.2% of all employment and 2.7% of all GDP in African countries in 2018.

Every person employed by the aviation sector directly and in aviation enabled tourism supported another 16.5 jobs elsewhere in Africa. Similarly, $6 of economic activity was supported elsewhere in Africa for every $1 created by the air transport sector.

Facts about Employment

In Africa, the aviation sector employed over 500,000 people directly in 2018. Analysis of these workers suggests:

  • 252,000 of those people (57% of the total) were employed by airlines or handling agents in roles such as flight crew, check-in staff, maintenance crew, or head office staff
  • 45,000 (10%) had jobs with airport operators such as airport management, maintenance, and security
  • 112,000 (25%) worked on-site in airports in retails outlets, restaurants, and hotels
  • 17,000 (4%) were employed in civil aircraft manufacturing, including systems, components, airframes, and engines
  • 13,000 (3%) worked for air navigation service providers in jobs like air traffic control and engineering

GDP Contribution in Africa

Airlines, airport operators, retailers, other on-site businesses and air navigation services, and civil aircraft manufacturers contribute to GDP in Africa. In 2018, the operations of these businesses generated $9 billion directly to GDP.

The aviation sector’s spending with suppliers is estimated to have supported an additional 500,000 jobs and a $5.5 billion contribution to GDP. Also, spending by those employed in the aviation sector and its supply chain supported 333,000 more jobs and a $4 billion contribution to Africa’s GDP.

Air travel also facilitates a substantial amount of tourism in Africa. This stimulates more economic activity, as tourists spend their money in restaurants, hotels, shops, tour operators, and other consumer goods and services. In 2018, foreign visitors who flew to African countries supported an estimated 6.5 million jobs and contributed $44 billion to GDP.

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