The airline industry is scrutinized by passengers and analysts alike, mostly for two reasons. One, many people take one or more flights a year and have personal experiences that leave lasting impressions. Two, the industry’s economic impact is unprecedented.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “Aviation accounts for more than 5% of our [United States] Gross Domestic Product, contributes $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs.” In a closely related industry, the manufacturing of planes is the country’s “top net export.” The industry is also a major contributor to national productivity growth.
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From a global perspective, the impact on the world economy is even more substantial. A study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), an independent coalition of organizations and companies in the air transport industry, indicates that the estimated global economic impact of air transport is equivalent to 8% of the world’s gross domestic product.
Digest these numbers for a minute. In 2015, the world’s airlines carried more than three billion passengers, and today aviation and related tourism supports more than 60 million jobs worldwide. Almost 10 million people work directly in the aviation and air transport industries. More impressive is the fact that, according to research, 25% of all companies’ sales depend on air transport.
While many types of businesses (e.g., manufacturers of commercial jetliners) can be considered part of the aviation sector, our new guide focuses on the airline industry – the companies that operate air transport networks. It looks at the current and future state of the industry. Specifically, it discusses some of the initiatives on which airlines are focusing in the hopes of driving growth and value for their businesses, as well as their customers, employees, partners, and shareholders.