LONDON – According to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), up to 46 million jobs in aviation are at risk due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For context, around 87.7 million jobs are in the aviation and tourism sector, meaning that this represents just over 50% of the entire global workforce. Around 11 million of those jobs are in the sector itself, with others being around the tourism sector.
Commenting on this analysis was Michael Gill, the Executive Director of the ATAG. Gill stated that 4.8 million jobs could disappear by the beginning of next year.
“With the expectation that we will see less than half the passenger traffic this year than we carried in 2019, we know that a lot of jobs in air transport and the wider economy relying on aviation are at risk. Some companies are already making difficult decisions, with many colleagues being impacted by the downturn.”
“Our analysis shows that up to 4.8 million jobs in aviation may be lost by the beginning of next year, a 43% reduction from pre-COVID levels. When you expand those effects across all the jobs aviation would normally support, 46 million jobs are at risk.”
COVID-19 and the Global Transport System
Gill went on to specify that said aviation-related jobs include highly-skilled aviation roles, the wider tourism jobs impacted by the lack of air travel and employment throughout the supply chain in construction, catering supplies, professional services, and all the other things required to run a global transport system.
“It is absolutely incumbent on governments to do whatever they can to help the sector get back on its feet so we can bring back those jobs and that economic activity. And this must go beyond schemes to support employment.”
“Passengers and businesses need certainty around travel – not to be subject to random quarantine declarations and constantly changing lists of acceptable and unacceptable destinations,” said ATAG’s Executive Director.
“We know it is tough to make these decisions. But as testing improves and the prospect of a vaccine becomes clearer, we hope that more stability in the travel environment also leads to a more stable return to the wider economic role of air transport.”
Before COVID-19, around 87.7m jobs were supported by air transport, offering around US$3.5tn in global economic benefits. Additionally, air travel carries around 35% of world trade at a value of US$6.5tn in 2019.
During COVID-19, the 46 million jobs that may be lost because of the pandemic will bring the job number down to 41.7 million, which would be a 52.5% drop compared to last year. For direct aviation jobs, this will drop by 43% as a result of the 4.8 million that will be potentially lost.
ATAG estimated that around 39,200 repatriation flights have taken place, handling around 5.4 million passengers, with 46,400 cargo flights taking place transporting 1.5 million tonnes of cargo.
With 58% of world tourists traveling by air, the data most definitely shows the huge impact that the aviation sector is being subjected to. There is a danger that because of route suspensions caused by the pandemic, with some being withdrawn permanently, the price of airfares may rise going forward.
Fares are 90% lower than the same journey would have cost in 1950. With that in mind, because some destinations will not be returning back to the networks for a while, this will definitely increase the price. This is also to do with airlines wanting to cover their losses during the pandemic.
It remains clear that the pandemic has shifted the commercial aviation into quite a negative paradigm. For the industry, it is now down to all individual elements to begin the recovery phase and push forward to bring back demand as fast as possible, so then job reduction can be slowed down.
Consumer confidence is another important element, particularly with the airlines; especially, if they want to witness any positive growth going into the new decade.
Featured Image: Wing view of an Air New Zealand Airbus A320. Photo Source: On The Luce Travel Blog