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Travel slump threatens 46 million jobs, aviation group says

Christian Fernsby |
The severe downturn in air traffic this year caused by coronavirus, followed by a slow recovery will result in a loss of up to 46 million jobs normally supported by aviation.

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Under normal circumstances, aviation and the tourism it facilitates supports 87.7 million jobs worldwide. Over 11 million jobs are within the sector itself, employed at airlines, airports, civil aerospace manufacturers and air traffic management. The near total shutdown of the system for several months, as well as the stop start nature of the reopening means that air travel will not recover to pre-Covid levels until around 2024.

Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill said: “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. These 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.


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