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Aviation

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Aviation sector, which is a component of the Transport industry.

The Aviation industry underpins Australian business and tourism and has an estimated annual revenue of $45.98 billion and added $18.42 billion to the Australian economy in 2018. During 2017 the Aviation sector carried over 60 million domestic passengers and there were over 1 million tonnes of international scheduled air freight traffic. The industry employs more than 93,000 people across its five main subsectors:

  • Domestic Commercial Aviation
  • International Commercial Aviation
  • General Aviation
  • Air-freight Aviation 
  • Aviation Support Infrastructure.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required in the Aviation sector in job roles such as:

  • Aerodrome Operations
  • Airport Safety
  • Ground Operations
  • Cargo Services
  • Customer Service
  • Aviation Transport Protection
  • Aviation Search and Rescue
  • Management and Supervision
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Flight Operations (Pilots – aeroplane, helicopter, commercial, military, remote and pilot in command)
  • Flight Instruction.

Nationally recognised training for the Aviation sector is delivered under the AVI - Aviation Training Package.

For information on the Rail, Maritime, Aerospace and Transport and Logistics sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Aviation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecast

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industry increased steadily between 2000 and 2017, increased in 2019 after a slight decline in 2018, and is projected to remain stable in the period to 2024. The Air and Space Transport industry saw fluctuations in employment levels over the same period, however, the overall trend had been upwards. There was a considerable drop in employment in 2018, however, employment numbers increased in 2019. Employment is projected to decline in the period to 2024.

Air Transport Professionals and Travel Attendants made up 15% and 14% respectively of the combined Air and Space Transport and Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industry workforces. Employment in both occupations is projected to increase in the period to 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2018, there were approximately 5,550 program enrolments in Aviation-related qualifications and around 2,630 completions. Both program enrolments and completions increased between 2015 and 2018. There were more than 3,380 subject only enrolments in 2018, up from roughly 3,060 in 2017. Fifty-five percent of enrolments in 2018 were at the diploma or higher level. More than half of enrolments (53%) were in Commercial Pilot/Instrument Flight Operations qualifications, with the main intended occupation of Aeroplane Pilot.

In 2018, private training providers delivered more than two thirds of all qualifications (70%), TAFE institutes delivered 27%, with most of the remainder delivered by enterprise providers. However, there was variance in provider type between the discrete qualification clusters with 90% of the Cabin Crew and Flight Operations qualifications provided by TAFE institutes whereas for Aviation Screening and Security, 92% of training was delivered by private training providers.

In 2018, more than 66% of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were government funded, however, for the other provider types, with the exception of schools which were 100% government funded, the largest proportion of subjects (49%) were funded by domestic fee for service. Students enrolled in 2018 were mainly from New South Wales (24%), Queensland (21%) and Overseas (21%). The majority of training was delivered in Queensland (26%), New South Wales (25%) and Victoria (23%).

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements fell to less than 130 in 2018 from approximately 190 in 2017. Commencements declined sharply between 2012 and 2014 before increasing moderately over the next two years until 2016. Completions increased between 2010 and 2014 but have declined significantly since. The most common intended occupation for apprentices and trainees was Aircraft Baggage Handler and Airline Ground Crew (61%) followed by Aeroplane Pilot (28%). As at December 2018, 46% of apprentices and trainees were reported by New South Wales and 35% by Queensland.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.  

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Aviation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies the top priority skills for the Aviation workforce in the next three to five years as:

  • Health and safety
  • Operational
  • Security.

Additionally, the top five generic skills in order of importance are listed as:

  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self-management (adaptability)
  • Technology
  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence.

The top priority industry and occupation skills include Maintenance/Servicing and Piloting.

The following areas were identified as experiencing skills shortages: educators, trainers and assessors, engineers and technicians, managers, pilots and safety personnel. The reasons identified for these skills shortages include: cost/time to achieve the required qualification, competition from other organisations, ageing workforce / current staff retiring, wages / salaries considered too low, geographic location of the vacancy.

The Aviation IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast reports there are several trends in the Aviation sector that may create demand for new jobs and skills:

  • International economic growth in provincial areas, higher disposable incomes in emerging markets and a growing number of people in Australia that were born overseas are factors that are driving greater demand for international aviation
  • Emerging technologies to streamline and automate manual processes are creating demand for digital skills within the workforce and are likely to challenge the Aviation industry over the next five years
  • To ensure continued reliable and safe travel operations, airport operators are under pressure from an increasing rate of technological change to maintain a robust level of cybersecurity and personal safety
  • Expansion or planned expansion of most major capital city airports driving demand for ground operations occupations including Aircraft Baggage Handlers, Airline Ground Crew, Load Controllers and Airports Works Safety Officers
  • Overseas operations and involvement in expanding the aviation capacity of other nations is creating strong international opportunities for Australian aviation training providers.

The 2018 Report of the Expert Panel on Aviation Skills & Training explores the aviation industry skills shortages. The Expert Panel identify a shortage of qualified instructors and licensed examiners as impacting the ability to meet demand for the training of new pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers to address skills shortages in those areas. Skills gaps are also identified between training provided by RTOs and the requirements of industry and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) licensing. A number of other challenges are also discussed.

The Australian Aviation Associations Forum - Aviation Policy 2016 highlights a looming skills shortage in the Aviation sector brought about by the reduction in apprentices; and an ageing workforce. The policy argues that Australia has a major opportunity to develop a coordinated federal and state/territory aviation training program to meet the demand for aircrew, maintenance, airport services, and related skills over the coming decades both domestically and for the growing Aviation industry sector in the Asia Pacific. Recommendations to realise Australia’s training potential include:

  • Closer partnership between government and industry to foster and promote aviation training opportunities
  • The integration of aviation training into more numerous and geographically available trade courses such as the automotive trades that share certain competencies.

The Aviation Workforce Skills Study (2016) by Australian Industry Standards highlights the impact of technological change on the Aviation industry, with employers reporting skill areas related to digital technologies needing to be further developed to some extent. These include analytical skills which have grown in importance and prevalence along with the recent growth in the use of real-time data analytics and ‘Big Data’ analytics. Closely related to this is problem solving skills, or the ability to interpret the available information and react adequately. Additionally, risk and safety management, and digital literacy were reported as further areas for skill development.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit (49) Air and Space Transport and ANZSIC 3 digit (522) Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industries, employment projections to May 2023
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 2311 Air Transport Professionals
    • 4517 Travel Attendants
    • 6394 Ticket Salespersons
    • 7219 Other Mobile Plant Operators
    • 3231 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit industry, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 49 Air and Space Transport
  • and ANZSIC 3 digit
    • 522 Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industries.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by ANZSIC 2 digit (49) Air and Space Transport and ANZSIC 3 digit (522) Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industries, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industries as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • AVI Aviation Training Package
  • Air Traffic Control/Aerodrome Operations
    • AVI30516 - Certificate III in Aviation (Aerodrome Operations)
    • AVI30713 - Certificate III in Aviation (Aerodrome Operations)
    • AVI50115 - Diploma of Aviation (Air Traffic Control)
    • AVI50308 - Diploma of Aviation (Air Traffic Control)
  • Aviation Screening
    • AVI20118 - Certificate II in Transport Security Protection
    • AVI20316 - Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Passenger and Non-Passenger Screener)
    • AVI20416 - Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Checked Baggage Screener)
    • AVI20613 - Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Passenger/Non-Passenger Screener)
    • AVI20713 - Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Checked Baggage Screener)
  • Cabin Crew and Flight Operations
    • AVI20116 - Certificate II in Aviation (Flight Operations-Cargo Services)
    • AVI20208 - Certificate II in Aviation (Flight Operations)
    • AVI30116 - Certificate III in Aviation (Cabin Crew)
    • AVI30208 - Certificate III in Aviation (Flight Operations)
    • TDA20203 - Certificate II in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Flight Operations)
    • TDA30203 - Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Flight Operations)
  • Commercial Pilot / Instrument Flight Operations
    • AVI40108 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Commercial Pilot Aeroplane Licence)
    • AVI40208 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Commercial Pilot Helicopter Licence)
    • AVI50215 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane)
    • AVI50315 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)
    • AVI50408 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Flight Operations)
    • AVI50415 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
  • Flight Instruction
    • AVI50510 - Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instructor)
    • AVI50516 - Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instructor)
  • Ground Operation and Service
    • AVI10108 - Certificate I in Aviation (Foundation Skills)
    • AVI20216 - Certificate II in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI20408 - Certificate II in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI30408 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI30416 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI40408 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • TDA20403 - Certificate II in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Ground Operations and Service)
    • TDA30403 - Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Ground Operations and Service)
  • Other Flight Operations
    • AVI30216 - Certificate III in Aviation (Rescue Crewman)
    • AVI30316 - Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot - Visual Line of Sight)
    • AVI30510 - Certificate III in Aviation (Rescue Crewman)
    • AVI30813 - Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot - Visual Line of Sight)
    • AVI40116 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aircrewman)
    • AVI40216 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aviation Supervision)
    • AVI40610 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aircrewman)
    • AVI50616 - Diploma of Aviation (Aviation Management)
    • AVI60216 - Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

AVI Aviation Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Aviation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 23 Sep 2020
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