Air transport industry hit hardest by Covid

The air transport industry (air and space transport) in New Zealand employed 5,600 (35.0 percent) fewer people in February 2021 compared with February 2020, when the COVID-19-related travel restrictions weren’t yet in place, Stats NZ said today.

This was the biggest percentage drop in employment for any industry (at subdivision level) in the year to February 2021.

“The country’s international borders remained closed for quarantine-free travel for most of this period, while domestic air travel was severely affected by lockdowns, regional travel restrictions, and the lack of international tourists,” statistical business register manager Stuart Pitts said.

At February 2021, there were 370 enterprises engaged in air transport – a drop of 10 enterprises from February 2020.

The total number of enterprises in New Zealand edged up 0.5 percent to 562,520 during the year to February 2021, while the number of employees fell 0.4 percent to 2.31 million.

“Though the overall business counts moved within a narrow range, there was a wide variation in how different industries fared over the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Pitts said.

Industry (ANZSIC06 subdivision)Enterprises
Building construction6.4
Construction services3.9
Road transport-10.1
Air and space transport-2.4
Other transport-1.1
Transport support services-3.2
Administrative services-7.2
Artistic activities0.1
Gambling activities-5
Industry (ANZSIC06 subdivision)Employees
Building construction6.5
Construction services6
Road transport-4.5
Air and space transport-35
Other transport-32.4
Transport support services-8.9
Administrative services-12.9
Artistic activities-9.8
Gambling activities-24.6

Transport was one of the worst-affected industries, particularly in terms of the number of people employed. At February 2021, the industry subdivision ‘other transport’, which includes the scenic and sightseeing transport industry, had 32.4 percent fewer employees than at February 2020.

The number of enterprises engaged in road transport was down 10.1 percent during the year. Within road transport, road passenger transport was particularly affected with enterprise and employee numbers declining by 22.1 percent and 13.8 percent respectively.

Businesses in the accommodation industry also bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accommodation providers in New Zealand employed 26,700 people at February 2021 – a 23.5 percent drop from the previous year.

The gambling activities industry was also badly affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, with 5.0 percent fewer enterprises and 24.6 percent fewer employees at February 2021 compared with February 2020.

Construction was at the forefront of industries that went against this declining trend.

The building construction industry had 6.4 percent more enterprises and 6.5 percent more employees at February 2021 than at February 2020. The construction services industry, which includes services such as site preparation, plumbing, electrical, and landscaping, had 3.9 percent more enterprises and 6.0 percent more employees than at February 2020.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.