The importance of leisure aviation to the UK economy is to be outlined by Abta in evidence to the government’s Airports Commission tomorrow (Tuesday).
A study by the Centre for Economics Business Research found that the sector contributed £14.1 billion of ‘Gross Value Added’ in 2010, equivalent to 1.1% of GDP, greater than the contribution of the utilities, accountancy or advertising industries.
The Abta-commissioned report says that that it accounted for 1.2% of total UK employment, equivalent to 289,000 full time jobs in 2010.
The impact on job creation of leisure aviation goes beyond direct employment with a further 246,000 employed by suppliers to the industry.
Researchers analysed 446 routes from 2012 and found that on 428 of these, more than half of passengers were travelling for leisure purposes, with half of the routes showing a leisure passenger share exceeding 90%.
This underlines that many routes essential to the business health of the UK would not be viable without the contribution of leisure travellers.
Additionally, leisure passengers play a key role in supporting the viability of routes for business travellers to high growth economies, such as Brazil, India and the UAE.
Leisure traveller numbers to countries with high growth economies grew by more than 96.6% between 2002-2012. This was equivalent to an increase of 4.2 million leisure passengers, alongside an increase in business passengers of 660,000.
Leisure aviation also makes a significant contribution to regional economies with the economic output in Wales, the North East and Northern Ireland accounting for the highest proportions of regional Gross Value Added contributions of between 1.4 and 1.5%.
In terms of absolute impact, leisure aviation provides the largest contribution to the South East, London and North West economies.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer is due to present the findings to an Airports Commission hearing on demand and connectivity.
He will also provide the assoication’s views on what the government needs to take into consideration to develop a long-term aviation strategy for the UK.
He said: “This report makes an unarguable case for the importance of leisure aviation to the UK economy, as a wealth and job creator without which many air routes essential to the business health of the UK would simply not exist.
“The government must recognise the key role leisure aviation plays in supporting the economy throughout the UK and ensure that support for the sector is built in to any future aviation strategy.”
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