October 23, 2012
European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas made the following comment a few weeks ago when discussing the Connecting Europe Facility:
If transport does not flow or connect smoothly, our economy will fail to grow and we risk losing our competitive edge in the global marketplace. Put simply, transport enables us to connect to compete.
Siim Kallas, European Transport Commissioner
He is absolutely right of course. Not only does transport allow European integration to occur and trade to develop between European countries, but it also provides for European jobs to build and service the infrastructure (not to mention European relaxation!). This week, we have released a new report which explores the role aviation plays in – and between – the European Union’s 27 member states. It is an extension of a report released earlier this year looking at the global picture, Aviation: benefits beyond borders.
Analysis from Oxford Economics has found that 7.8 million jobs and €475 billion in gross domestic product are supported by aviation in the EU27. That’s nearly 4% of European GDP. Aside from high-value jobs in aerospace manufacturing and engineering, air transport provides employment in areas across a wide range of skills, from advanced logistics, catering, customer service, maintenance, pilots and cabin crew. Add to this the jobs supported through the aviation supply chain and in the tourism made possible by air travel and you soon start to realise the important role that aviation can play in helping to boost economies – of particular importance in Europe right now.
While aviation carries 0.6% of the volume of EU trade with the rest of the world, it covers 22.7% of the trade by value. This demonstrates that the €654 billion in extra-EU27 trade transported by air in 2010 is made up of very high-value commodities. Malta, Ireland, Luxembourg and Cyprus all have particularly important high-tech component sectors. And the trade in fresh produce can have very real, long-term, benefits for trading partners.
When the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano erupted in 2010, around €3.7 billion was lost from the global economy. But even harder hit were the economies of African trading partners such as Kenya, Zambia and Ghana where an estimated €48.5 million was lost from the economy as fresh produce was unable to reach its European customers and rotted. A sign of how, through air transport, European consumers can build sustainable businesses in developing nations, rather than simply sending aid.ATAG