ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Aviation industry

Research guide

Published: 07 Mar 2019 Updated: 29 Sep 2022 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, members and subscribers.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

KPMG Transport Tracker
Regular bulletin covering key global transport market indicators and trends across shipping and sea freight, aviation and express logistics.

Aviation Industry Outlook 2022
Annual publication from PwC Strategy& looking at major trends, challenges and opportunities for commercial airline carriers globally.

Winter is coming: the future of European aviation and how to survive it
Article published by McKinsey & Company in September 2016 analysing factors shaping the European airline industry.

The aerospace report
Report produced by BDO and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in July 2015 offering a detailed profile of the UK aerospace industry, the current international landscape, analysis of staffing and skills, government initiatives and recommendations.

Aviation finance: Fasten your seatbelts
In-depth report by PwC, published in January 2013, looking at trends in the aircraft sector, covering:

  • investment opportunities
  • aircraft order backlogs
  • financing trends
  • aircraft leasing.

Market research

Other market research specialists

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the travel sector from Euromonitor, with a range of major market profiles country reports on airlines and global air transportation. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Busines and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including passenger flights and freight air transport. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Report from Mintel covering the UK airlines market. The website includes a summary and the option to view a contents listing.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Aerospace Defence Security (ADS)

ADS publishes an annual UK Aerospace Outlook, which gives key trends, turnover, order intake, employment, research and development, international trade, regional trends and information on the UK aerospace industry's global presence.

Centre for the study of Regulated Industries (CRI)

The Centre for the study of Regulated Industries published UK Airports Industry: Airport Statistics annually until its closure as an active research centre in 2010. The latest and previous editions of this report are available to download for free on its statistical series page.

Civil Aviation Authority

The Civil Aviation Authority collects and disseminates statistics and market information about the UK aviation industry including:

Department for Transport

The Department for Transport is a leading source of transport data and publishes a series of aviation statistics, covering:

  • activity at UK airports, including number of flights, passengers and volume of freight handled
  • activity by UK airlines, including distance flown, passengers uplifted, seat occupancy, fleet size and employment
  • summary statistics for major international airports and airlines
  • casualties caused by aviation and air proximity incidents
  • public attitudes to aviation and airport expansion
  • passenger experience of air travel, including security screening.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment – average during the year;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Manufacturing of air and spacecraft and related machinery (30.3)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Air transport (51)
    See Section H: Transport and storage

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery (C303)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Air transport (H51)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Eurostat also compiles a range of data on air transport in the EU, including statistics on infrastructure, equipment, enterprises, economic performance, employment and measurement.

Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe)

ACI Europe provides a range of industry data

Statistics on the Americas

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (US)

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) provides general aviation information and statistics, including data on:

  • FAA certificated pilots by state and certificate type
  • Public- and private-use airports by state
  • Active general aviation aircraft by state
  • General aviation aircraft shipments and registrations
  • General aviation trends
  • General aviation safety record
  • Current accident statistics graphs.

Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman's Airline Economic Analysis 2016-2017 provides economic and performance data for the US aviation industry as well as global capacity growth by region. The report includes:

  • Revenue per available seat mile (RASM)
  • Passenger yield
  • Ancillary revenue
  • Stage-length adjusted revenue per available seat
  • Cost per available seat mile (CASM)
  • Labor cost
  • Jet fuel costs and labor costs
  • Profit margin data
  • Break-even load factors
  • US carrier capacity analysis

Statistics on Asia


ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, produces an annual Statistical Yearbook which includes a chapter on transport and communication. Figures by country cover:

  • number of domestic airports
  • domestic passenger traffic
  • domestic freight traffic
  • number of aircraft traffic
  • number of international airports
  • international passenger traffic
  • cargo loaded
  • cargo unloaded
  • aircraft departures
  • aircraft arrivals.

Statistics on the Middle East

Arab Air Carriers Organization

The Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) provides general statistics on domestic and international freight and passenger traffic.

Global statistics


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) compiles a comprehensive range of industry facts and figures


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • Aircraft and spacecraft (3530)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof (88)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the Industrial Commodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Aeroplanes and other aircraft (49)



Average employment costs within this sector are available from Table 14 of the Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • air traffic controllers;
  • aircraft pilots and flight engineers;
  • air transport operatives; and
  • air travel assistants.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


Gov.uk offers guidance and information on transport regulations and safety, including:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a section on health and safety in air transport which includes latest regulations affecting this industry.

The Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 2018 Committee report Brexit and the implications for UK business: Aerospace inquiry contains a chapter on regulatory alignment.

Law firm Faegre Drinker published an article Regulatory Implications of Brexit on the UK and EU Aerospace Industry in April 2021.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

The websites of trade bodies in this sector are a useful source of industry overviews, contacts and statistics.





Middle East

North America



Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

Can't find what you're looking for?

The ICAEW Library can give you the right information from trustworthy, professional sources that aren't freely available online. Contact us for expert help with your enquiries and research.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this Business & Industry Guide is correct. However, the content of websites changes frequently and users should satisfy themselves that the information they contain is suitable for the purposes for which they wish to use it. We would be grateful to receive notification of any broken links at library@icaew.com.


ICAEW accepts no responsibility for the content on any site to which a hypertext link from this site exists. The links are provided ‘as is’ with no warranty, express or implied, for the information provided within them. Please see the full copyright and disclaimer notice.