Aviation's Impact on the United States Economy


During the almost century and a quarter since the first airplane rose at Kittyhawk, the aviation industry has become an essential part of the world economy. Whether for travel, goods transport, military, business, or personal enjoyment, aviation in all its forms has become an integral part of modern life.

According to Travelweek.ca, a Canadian publication, there could be an estimated 39,000 airplanes in active use today, although, over the entire course of history, about 150,000 planes have been built.

And, it should be noted, the rising demand in all sectors of aviation is expected to double the number of active aircraft by 2039.

How Much Revenue Does Commercial Aviation Produce?

Essential for international business, aviation provides the only genuinely rapid transportation option to support long-distance trade and travel. The industry creates jobs, facilitates trade and tourism, and generates significant economic growth.

Commercial aviation, defined as general, passenger, and freight transport, employs over 10 million workers at all levels and generates a whopping $1.7 trillion in economic activity, according to airlines.org. Whole industries, communities, and states rely on aviation to transport people and goods around the world safely and economically.

The total contribution of the aviation industry to the United States GDP is estimated at 5.7%, according to airlines.org.

Many individual states have a significant dependency on aviation transport and manufacture, making up a notable percentage of their GDP. For example, here are percentages of total GNP for some individuals states :

  • Washington: 7.9%
  • Nevada: 12.8%
  • Texas: 3.6%
  • New York: 3.9%
  • Arizona: 7.7%
  • Georgia: 5.3%
  • Kansas: 5.7%
  • Hawaii: 18.8%
  • California: 4.1%

What Are the Principal Revenue Sources from Aviation?

According to a study by Florida Tech, the main sources of revenue generated by aviation overall are:

  • Air Travelers: Over 4 billion people traveled by air in 2017
  • Air Freight: $5.9 globally in 2018
  • Airline (U.S.): In 2014, airlines generated $339.68 billion in 2018.
  • Airport Operations (U.S.): Airport operations took in $8.492 billion in 2018.
  • Courier and Package Delivery Revenue: $300 billion 2018

Traveler expenditures and travel arrangements add many more billions of dollars to the United States GDP per year.

What is General Aviation’s Impact on the U.S. Economy?

General Aviation, an important subset of the industry, includes business aviation and segments of the industry that do not include military or scheduled airline activities. According to a recent National Business Aviation report, General Aviation generates $246.8 billion to the U.S. economy. Direct employment equals 1,179,200.

Much of General Aviation’s near-term focus will be on providing service to more communities in the U.S. and expanding involvement with helicopter and vertical-lift aircraft for efficient urban mobility and delivery.

The General Aviation industry is committed to inspiring and training young people to meet the growing demand for pilots, aircrafts technicians, flight department managers, safety and security managers, schedulers, dispatchers, flight attendants, manufacturing, design specialists, and more.

Check Out the Aviation JobNet Job Board

Given the already staggering impact of aviation on the United States economy, plus the growing shortage of key personnel, the aviation industry is working with businesses and the United Stated government to inspire and develop new talent. Skilled pilots, technicians, and engineers are in high demand today, and the future reflects even more need as the economies of the world continue to grow.

If you are in the market for a position in the U.S. aviation sector, check out the Aviation JobNet Job Board to view some of the thousands of open positions with the most reputable companies in the field.

When visiting the Aviation JobNet Job Board, simply enter your preferred job title and location. You will have the opportunity to post your resume and complete your application for the position you feel is the best fit for your future.

Visit the Aviation JobNet website today and learn more about the exciting opportunities in aviation.

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