KINGSTON — The global demand for “aviation professionals” creates a vast opportunity for Jamaica, with its English Language ability, hospitable climate and friendly people to provide training for the next generation of these professionals.
This was stated by Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Lt. Col Oscar Derby, during his presentation to the recent economic forum put on by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
Speaking on the theme, “Aviation and Trans-shipment: Opportunities for growth”, Lt. Col. Derby opined that “aviation, despite the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast which outlines a reduction in profits…has remained the single most important engine for growth within any economy”.
He disclosed that the JCAA, being fully aware of this “significant role”, remains committed to creating an environment that will foster growth and development within the nation’s aviation industry.
“There is no doubt that aviation impacts every sector within the economy. Aviation creates an estimated US$5 billion in earnings globally, from direct employment and vastly more from airport earnings,” he maintained.
The Civil Aviation Boss observed that, while the direct impact of aviation is often recognised, it was the “indirect, induced and catalytic impact” that is often overlooked.
Economists often refer to the indirect, induced and catalytic impact of aviation as the multiplier effect.
This multiplier effect, he stated, is seen in jobs in the tourism and the manufacturing industries, as well as the food and beverage industries and the many industries and sectors that serve them.
He explained that annually, “through these impacts”, the air transport industry contributes 8 percent of world’s GDP or US$3,260 billion.
Lt. Col. Derby said that this vast global industry is projected to triple in size by 2026, as the major aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, have projected demand for an additional 25,000 new airliners, to add to the existing global fleet of 17,000.
“These aircraft will require an additional 350,000 pilots and 480, mechanics, and nearly 500,000 professionals,” he said.
In the United States, 73 percent of all air traffic controllers are expected to retire between 2005 and 2015. All pilots and air traffic controllers are required to meet English Language proficiency Level Four, along with their native or official languages.
Investment in the training of aviation professionals is emerging as a major investment opportunity and, while the aviation expert emphasised that aviation is a long term investment, he assured that “the gains on investing in this sector compares favourably to long-term investments in other industries."
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter