Mobility and Transport


Social Dimension

Social Dimension

Aviation is a strong driver of EU economic growth and jobs. Since the progressive implementation of the single aviation market began in 1992, the air transport market in Europe has undergone many significant changes. Passenger traffic has grown rapidly, stimulated by new airline business models, a wider choice of air services, and lower air fares. The industry has also been changed by transnational alliances and mergers of airlines, and the bankruptcies of a number of carriers. These developments have had a non-negligible impact on jobs and working conditions, in a context of increasing productivity and recourse to outsourcing.

Following the adoption of the Regulation EC 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community , the European Commission conducted a survey analysing employment and working conditions within the internal market for aviation over the period 1997-2007. This study provided for the first time an extensive analysis of employment in the air sector over a ten-year period, and established a sound basis for a constructive debate with all the social partners and institutions. It was the intention of the Commission to update it on a regular basis, which it did in 2012 (The "Study on the effects of the implementation of the EU aviation common market on employment and working conditions in the Air Transport Sector over the period 1997/2010" was presented in the framework of the 2013 Fitness Check on the Internal Aviation Market) and in 2015.

Regarding the latter, given the rapid and profound changes faced by the industry over recent years, the updated study commissioned in 2015, entitled "Study on employment and working conditions in air transport and airports", covers the period 2000-2013. Achieving a high level of employment, while ensuring the freedom of movement of workers, is a key priority of the Commission in order to achieve a deeper and fairer internal market. With this updated report – to be released soon –, the Commission aims to extend and deepen the analysis, both in terms of statistical and qualitative findings.

According to this latest edition and Eurostat data, The EU air transport cluster and airport related activities directly employ around 1.9 million people and directly or indirectly support 4.7 million jobs. The direct contribution of air transport and airports to the EU's GDP is €110bn while the overall total impact, including the indirect effects, is as much as €300bn. Since the completion of the aviation internal market, direct employment in aviation has remained stable while the aviation market was booming. While over the period 2000-2013 passenger traffic in the EU has grown at a compound average rate of +3.0% p.a., i.e. totaling +47% over that period, employment in the air transport cluster saw a net reduction of -7.0% over the same 13-year period. These developments took place in a context of rapidly increasing productivity and more widespread recourse to outsourcing.

Qualitative findings include an overview of developing business models, an analysis of employment trends by age group and occupation, an in-depth analysis of employment arrangements, including atypical ones, a picture of unionization trends.  It also takes into account the developments and trends in the market, such as the multiplication of operational bases. The qualitative part relies on surveys and case studies. 

Policy and other related documents

High-level conference 2015 "A Social Agenda for Transport"

EU social dialogue for civil aviation

EU labour law matters

EU coordination of social security systems

Practical Guide "The applicable legislation in the EU, EEA and in Switzerland"

Practice Guide - Jurisdiction and applicable law in international disputes between the employee and the employer

Jurisdiction of the courts

Law applicable to contractual obligations

Legal migration