The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the aviation sector hard. It will take years for the industry to bounce back. To help the aviation sector, we need more efficient cooperation between industry and government. There is much to be gained, especially in the context of the inevitable transformation of aviation and the development of zero-emission technologies.
Until recently, the aviation industry was one of the fastest growing in Europe, and until the end of 2019, Poland was its most dynamic market on the continent, with the number of passengers growing by over a dozen percent year by year. The aviation industry in Poland in the last two decades has been created by over 170 companies. But it is worth knowing that this sector also has a direct impact on: ground services, logistics, gastronomy, passenger transport, tourism industry, travel agencies, holiday resorts, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and service industries for aircraft manufacturers and users, as well as the supply chains. It is a huge conglomerate, covering about 165 thousand jobs, with annual revenues for the Polish economy amounting to nearly 30 billion PLN. Aviation in Poland has a long, over 100-year-old tradition, has enormous development potential, stimulates and gives an impulse for economic growth. This is why regional airports and the currently planned construction of the Central Communication Port were being developed. And then the pandemic broke out.
According to the data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Polish economy could have lost over 8 billion PLN in the declines of 2020, and nearly 70 thousand jobs were at risk of being liquidated or relocated to other, less advanced sectors. Aviation is facing a zero-emission challenge today. For Poland, the loss of specialized staff would mean a waste of all intellectual capital built over the last few years and the inability to join R&D projects, which would become a flywheel for the entire aviation industry in the region.
Before the pandemic, the aviation industry in Poland was one of the most dynamically developing economic sectors. Aviation in the broad sense is not only the development of industry, but also the expansion of competences in the field of new technologies, including industry 4.0. – In the fall of last year, facing dramatic prospects, we decided to close ranks and create a coalition whose aim was to prepare a common position and proposals to support the broadly understood aviation industry and to start talks with the government community – said Agnieszka Jankowska member of the Management Board at General Electric Poland Sp. z o.o. and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland. – We have set up a dedicated aviation working group at AmCham. We decided to present concrete proposals in an integrated way, both for now and, above all, for the future. We want to act and save what we have in Poland, but also to enter a higher level of economic activity. Our ambition is to enter the world’s first league and we have competences, Polish engineers, Polish technological thought, traditions and appropriate institutions to do it – she added.