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

Information sourced from the most recently available Skills Forecast, the Aviation IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecast

The Aviation IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

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 increase from 12,400 in 2020 to 14,100 in the period to 2024. The Air and Space Transport industry saw fluctuations in employment levels over the same period, decreasing in 2020 after employment numbers increased in 2019. Employment is projected to increase 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 2019, there were approximately 5,940 program enrolments in Aviation-related qualifications and around 2,150 completions. Both program enrolments and completions increased between 2015 and 2019. The proportion of subject-only enrolments has increased since 2016, with 88% of students enrolled in subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program in 2019.

Fifty-six per cent of enrolments in 2019 were at the diploma or higher level. More than half of enrolments (51%) were in Commercial Pilot/Instrument Flight Operations qualifications, with the main intended occupation of Aeroplane Pilot.

In 2019, private training providers delivered nearly two thirds of all qualifications (64%), TAFE institutes delivered 30%, with most of the remainder delivered by enterprise providers. However, there was variance in provider type between the discrete qualification clusters with 92% of the Cabin Crew and Flight Operations qualifications provided by TAFE institutes whereas for Aviation Screening and Security, 96% of training was delivered by private training providers.

Fifty-seven per cent of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were Commonwealth and state funded in 2019. For the other provider types, with the exception of schools which were 100% Commonwealth and state funded, the largest proportion of subjects were funded by domestic fee for service. Students enrolled in 2019 were mainly from Queensland (25%), New South Wales (22%), and Victoria (20%).

The majority of training was delivered in Queensland (30%), Victoria (26%) and New South Wales (22%).

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements fell to less roughly 90 in 2019 from approximately 130 in 2018. 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 (65%) followed by Aeroplane Pilot (28%). As at December 2019, 40% of apprentices and trainees were reported by New South Wales and by Queensland with 15% by Tasmania.

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 following industry insights are drawn from sources which were published prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore do not necessarily reflect the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the sector. For more detailed information about the impact of COVID-19 please see the industry insights section of the Transport page.

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 2019 Skills Forecast reports there are several trends in the Aviation sector that may create demand for new jobs and skills:

  • New technologies to streamline processes – airports are investing in innovations including SmartGates, automated check-in and bag-drops, biometric technologies and facial recognition, digital platforms to provide tailored information for customers, advanced X-Ray equipment and body scanners, automated lane technology, and Checkpoint Computed Tomography (CT) which can produce a 3D image of the content of bags.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Technology (VT) – airlines have adopted tools such as dynamic airborne rerouting planning, crew scheduling optimisation, predictive maintenance, and fuel efficiency software
  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) – usage of drones is on the rise and can provide huge economic opportunities to a range of industries, requiring an immediate response to ensure RPAS operators are trained in the safe operation of drones and compliance with regulations.
  • Air Traffic Control systems – Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) has been trialled successfully, providing safer and more accurate approach guidance and stability to airplanes. OneSky, a new Air Traffic Management System, will replace the current system by 2023 and will harmonise civil and military air operation. Other innovations include Long Range Air Traffic Flow Management (LR-ATFM) which can increase air traffic predictability and reduce controllers’ workload and the implementation of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) which will harmonise airport operations through data sharing.
  • Automation for ground operations – autonomous systems and vehicles can improve the safety and efficiency of loading and unloading cargo, reducing the turnaround times between flights and accidents. Automated check-in, baggage drop-off, and biometrics reduce routine work for ground operators and costs. Customer service may become more reliant on new skills in interpreting body language and customer interaction.
  • Harmonisation of regulations – engineering and maintenance aviation regulations lack harmonisation, negatively impacting on training organisations. State and territory privacy laws and standards in relations to drones also require harmonisation.

The Aviation Workforce Skills Study 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.

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 Regional Aviation Policy: Issues Paper highlights the aviation industry’s importance in connecting regional Australia with the rest of the country and the world, not only in regard to passenger transport but in freight operations as well. The paper states there is a global shortage of skilled aviation personnel, and regional Australia is well placed to take advantage of the opportunity this presents to train pilots and drone operators due to ideal training conditions that include good weather and uncongested airspace.

Links and resources

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

Relevant research

Aviation Policy 2016 – The Australian Aviation Associations Forum

Aviation Safety Regulation Review – Australian Government

Aviation Workforce Skills Study – Australian Industry Standards

Regional Aviation Policy: Issues Paper – Australian Government. Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Report of the Expert Panel on Aviation Skills & Training – Expert Panel on Aviation Skills & Training in Australia

The Future of Aircraft Maintenance in Australia: Workforce Capability, Aviation Safety and Industry Development – University of NSW


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 2020, 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 2024
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 2311 Air Transport Professionals
    • 4517 Travel Attendants
    • 6394 Ticket Salespersons
    • 7219 Other Mobile Plant Operators
    • 3231 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 August 2020

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit industry, 2000 to 2020, 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
    • AVI20416 - Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Checked Baggage Screener)
    • AVI20118 - Certificate II in Transport Security Protection
    • AVI20316 - Certificate II in Aviation Transport Protection (Passenger and Non-Passenger 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)
    • AVI30116 - Certificate III in Aviation (Cabin Crew)
    • AVI30208 - Certificate III in Aviation (Flight Operations)
    • AVI20208 - Certificate II 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)
    • AVI50219 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane)
    • AVI50408 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Flight Operations)
    • AVI50315 - Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)
    • AVI50415 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
    • AVI50519 - Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
    • TDA40203 - Certificate IV in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Flight Operations).
  • 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)
    • TDA20403 - Certificate II in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI30408 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI30416 - Certificate III in Aviation (Ground Operations and Service)
    • TDA30403 - Certificate III in Transport and Distribution (Aviation Ground Operations and Service)
    • AVI40408 - Certificate IV in 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)
    • 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 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 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 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 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: 30 Oct 2020
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