The aviation industry supports over 56 million jobs and generates about $2.2trillion in GDP globally according to a report by Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and Oxford Economics.
The study, 'Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders', revealed that about $5.3trillion worth of freight is carried by air transport per year, which accounted to 35% of the value of world trade but only about 0.5% of the volume.
ATAG executive director, Paul Steele, said that if the aviation were a country then it would be the 19th largest economy in the world.
"When you take into account the further benefits gained through the speed and reliability of air travel, the businesses that exist because air freight makes them possible and the intrinsic value to the economy of improved connectivity, the economic impact would be several times larger," Steele said.
Out of the 56 million jobs supported by the sector 8.4 million people are directly employed by the sector. The aviation industry suppliers account for 9.3 million jobs and 4.4 million jobs are induced through spending by aviation industry employees. If you account for the part of the tourism sector made possible by air transport, over 34.5 million jobs are included in this total.
About 35% of all international tourists travel by air, the average occupancy in aircraft is 77% which is higher than other means of transport.
According to the report, Asia-Pacific accounts for 34% of global passenger traffic and is expected to almost triple from 779.6 million in 2010 to over 2.2 billion in 2030 with cargo volumes projected to rise at a rate of 6.3% per year.
The aviation industry has supported over 24 million jobs and $470bn in GDP in the Asia-Pacific region while in Latin America and the Caribbean region it has generated more than 4 million jobs and contributed $107bn national earnings.
Passenger numbers in the region are expected to triple from 145.9 million in 2010 to 438.9 million in 2030.