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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 $26.94 billion and added $10.73 billion to the Australian economy in 2019-20. 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 65,000 people across its five main subsectors:

  • Domestic Commercial Aviation
  • International Commercial Aviation
  • General Aviation
  • Air-freight Transport
  • 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 Aerospace, Maritime, Rail and Transport and Logistics sectors please visit the respective pages.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services industry increased steadily between 2000 and 2014 and fluctuated between 2015 and 2020. The employment level is projected to decrease from 15,300 in 2021 to 13,600 in the period to 2025. The Air and Space Transport industry saw fluctuations in employment levels over the same period, falling to the lowest level of 34,400 in 2020. The employment level rose to 41,000 in 2021 and is projected to further increase to 42,100 by 2025.

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 by about 1% in the period to 2025.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 6,220 program enrolments in Aviation-related qualifications and around 3,200 completions in 2020. Both program enrolments and completions increased between 2016 and 2020. The proportion of students enrolled in subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program declined between 2018 (95%) and 2019 (88%) before increasing again back to 93% in 2020..

In 2020, enrolments were mainly at the diploma or higher level (51%) or certificate III level (42%). Around 47% of enrolments were in Commercial Pilot / Instrument Flight Operations with the main intended occupation of Aeroplane Pilot. A further 35% of enrolments were in Other Flight Operations with the main intended occupation of Air Transport Professionals not elsewhere specified.

The majority of training in Aviation-related qualifications was delivered by private training providers (66%) in 2020. TAFE institutes and enterprise providers accounted for a further 25% and 8% respectively. Half of all subjects were funded by domestic fee for service, with 33% Commonwealth and state funded.

Of students enrolled in 2020 around 37% were from Queensland, followed by New South Wales with 20% and 16% were from overseas. Approximately 42% of the training was delivered in Queensland, 19% in New South Wales and 15% in Victoria.

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements fell to roughly 50 in 2020 from approximately 90 in 2019. 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 intended occupations for apprentices and trainees were Aircraft Baggage Handler and Airline Ground Crew; and Aeroplane Pilot. New South Wales reported 53% of apprenticeship training, followed by 38% in Queensland and 6% in Tasmania.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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 industry challenges and opportunities reported in the Aviation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast include new technologies for airports, airlines and air traffic control systems, automation for ground operations, and the harmonisation of regulations. Innovations for airports include automated check-in and bag-drops, biometric technologies and facial recognition, advanced x-ray equipment and Checkpoint Computed Tomography (CT) which can produce a 3D image of the content of bags. Autonomous systems and vehicles can improve safety and automated check-in and baggage drop off can reduce the routine work for ground operators. Airlines have adopted tools such as dynamic airborne rerouting planning, crew scheduling optimisation, predictive maintenance, and fuel efficiency software. The use of drones is on the rise, and RPAS operators need to be trained in the safe operation of drones and compliance with regulations. OneSky, a new Air Traffic Management System, will replace the current system by 2023 and will harmonise civil and military air operation.

The industry workforce skills developments or trends identified in the Aviation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the Aviation IRC’s 2021 Industry Outlook (abridged annual update) highlights several opportunities and challenges for the Aviation industry sector under the categories of drone technology, air traffic control, cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance:

  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), also termed Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and colloquially known as drones, will be more prevalent in the future. There are 1.2 million drones operating in Australia, and a potential $60 billion commercial drone market by 2024. Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles may also create more opportunities. A Diploma of Aviation (Chief Remote Pilot) to provide a regulatory and procedural leadership role supporting future changes in the drone industry is proposed by the IRC, and a new single unit Skill Set to address the skills and knowledge for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operations in the excluded category sub 2 kg.
  • Airservices Australia is developing the Integrated Airspace Program that will seek to deliver more efficient and suited services to low level airspace users in the near future. Part of this program is to work with CASA to enable automated RPAS approvals for operations that fall within certain parameters. With the OneSky program expected to be rolled out by 2023, the 1,700 existing and the new air traffic controllers will all need to be trained in the operation of this new technology. To address the knowledge and procedural skills gaps, the IRC has commenced a review of the Diploma of Aviation (Air Traffic Control) and nine associated Units of Competency.
  • Workforce skills need to be progressively developed to minimise the risk of cyber-attacks and be capable of reinstating digital systems as quickly as possible if a cybersecurity incident occurs, including compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • New regulations will be implemented in December 2021 covering flight rules, certification, and management for a variety of aircraft and operations. A review of the Units of Competency in the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) and affected skill sets that contain aspects of ‘spinning’, particularly ‘incipient spin’ is in progress.

The Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications released the National Emerging Aviation Technologies Policy Statement in May 2021. The Department is working closely with industry to progress emerging aviation technologies including drones, advanced air mobility (AAM) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. The economic analysis commissioned by the Department shows the potential for the creation and support of 5,500 full time equivalent jobs, an increase in the GDP of $14.5 billion over 20 years, and cost savings of $9.3 billion over the next 20 years. The Government is funding the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program to support strategic partnerships with industry to address community needs that can be addressed with the use of the new technology, particularly in regional Australia.

Pilot Training for Advanced Air Mobility states the emerging air transportation sector, advanced air mobility (AAM), will create a huge demand for uniquely trained professional pilots to safely fly passengers and cargo at scale across global markets. The report states more than $8 billion has been invested in the development of electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and the focus has primarily been on advances in electric propulsion, sources of power, and infrastructure, neglecting the issue of training. While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the global demand for pilots, the industry is showing signs of recovery. Initially, it is anticipated pilots for AAM will be experienced commercial pilots drawn from both the fixed and rotary-wing aviation sectors, exacerbating expected skills shortages. The pilots will need additional skills and training to operate eVTOL aircraft, and pathways from the AAM sector to the traditional civil aviation sector could also be established. The regulatory requirements for eVTOL pilot training and licencing are yet to be established, and early entrants will have to rely on existing regulations. In Australia, the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), which is the primary advisory body through which the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) directs its engagement with industry, has established the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Strategic Regulatory Roadmap Technical Working Group (TWG). The TWG will provide industry insight and understanding of current needs and regulatory approaches, provide relevant technical expertise, and co-design a draft roadmap with CASA.

Occupations not in national shortage, with moderate future demand relating to the Aviation Industry included in the Skills Priority List are Aeroplane Pilot, Air Traffic Controller, Flying Instructor, Helicopter Pilot, and Flight Attendant. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical), and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures) are listed as occupations in national shortage, with strong future demand. The Air and Space Transport: Flight Operations Industry Profile states Aeroplane Pilots are in short supply, and Flight Instructors are returning to industry as pilots for airlines. The demand for helicopter pilots has remained steady, however there is a demand for pilots with Night Vision Goggles (NVG) authorisation. Some organisations are experiencing additional cost burdens meeting regulatory requirements as, for example, the NGV authorisation can cost up to $55,000 per person, and there is an increasing expectation employers should fund these requirements. For Ground Operations, the industry snapshot states there is concern that stand downs of skilled workers due to reduced services, such as baggage handlers, cargo and ramp services employees, may be permanently lost to the industry.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

 

IRC and skills forecasts

 

Relevant research

Air and Space Transport: Flight Operations Industry Profile – Logistics & Defence Industry Skills Council (Western Australia)

Air and Space Transport: Ground Operations Industry Snapshot – Logistics & Defence Industry Skills Council (Western Australia)

AVI Air Traffic Control – Australian Industry Standards

AVI Chief Remote Pilot – Australian Industry Standards

AVI Commercial Pilot Regulatory Update – Australian Industry Standards

Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program – Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

National Emerging Aviation Technologies Policy Statement – Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Pilot Training for Advanced Air Mobility - CAE

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Controlled Airspace – Airservices Australia

Skills Priority List – National Skills Commission

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Aerial Application Association of Australia

Australian Airports Association

Australian Business Aviation Association

Australian Helicopter Industry Association

Australian Warbirds Association

Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association

Aviation/Aerospace Australia

Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA)

Flight Safety Foundation

Pro Aviation

Recreational Aviation Australia

Regional Aviation Association of Australia

Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Australian Division

Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia

Safeskies Australia

 

Regulatory / licensing bodies

Airservices Australia

Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

 

Employee associations

Australian & International Pilots Association

Australian Federation of Air Pilots

Australian Services Union

Flight Attendants Association of Australia

Transport Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, 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 2025
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 2311 Air Transport Professionals
    • 4517 Travel Attendants
    • 6394 Ticket Salespersons
    • 7219 Other Mobile Plant Operators
    • 3231 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit ’49 Air and Space Transport’ and by ANZSIC 3 digit ‘522 Airport Operations and Other Air Transport Support Services’, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter.

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)
    • AVI30219 - Certificate III in Aviation (Cabin Crew)
    • AVI40119 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Air Crew Officer)
    • 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)
    • AVI50219 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane)
    • AVI50315 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)
    • AVI50319 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)
    • AVI50408 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Flight Operations)
    • AVI50415 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
    • AVI50519 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
    • TDA40203 - Certificate IV in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Flight Operations).
  • Flight Instruction
    • AVI50419 - Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instructor)
    • AVI50510 - Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instructor)
    • AVI50516 - Diploma of Aviation (Flight Instructor)
    • AVI60116 - Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Chief Flight Instructor)
    • AVI60119 - Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Chief 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)
    • AVI30319 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI30408 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI30416 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI40120 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aviation Supervision)
    • 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)
    • AVI30419 - Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot)
    • AVI30510 - Certificate III in Aviation (Rescue Crewman)
    • AVI30519 - Certificate III in Aviation (Rescue Crew Officer)
    • AVI30813 - Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot - Visual Line of Sight)
    • AVI40116 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aircrewman)
    • AVI40216 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aviation Supervision)
    • AVI40219 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aviation Supervision)
    • AVI40610 - Certificate IV in Aviation (Aircrewman)
    • AVI50119 - Diploma of Aviation (Aviation Management)
    • AVI50616 - Diploma of Aviation (Aviation Management)
    • AVI60216 - Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command)
    • AVI60219 - 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:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 subject enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 19 Jan 2022
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