Leisure aviation accounts for £14.1 billion or 1.1% of UK GDP a year, a new report claims.

The value rises to £36.1 billion, or 2.8% of GDP when taking account of the economic impact of leisure aviation in the wider economy.

This is larger than either the accounting or advertising industries, the report produces for Abta says.

It also estimates 1.2% of total UK employment equating to 289,000 full-time jobs across the UK are supported by the sector. This represents more than the total number of jobs supported by the utilities industry.

The findings come as 200 senior industry figures and political stakeholders gathered in Westminster for Abta’s Travel Matters conference.

The full report prepared by Cebr will be presented to the Airports Commission on July 9 when Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer gives evidence in Manchester.

He said: “With decisive action needed on aviation capacity, it’s vital that the government takes into account all aviation needs.

“Leisure aviation is often seen as a lesser priority to business aviation, partly because until now there has been little research into this area; however these figures confirm the important contribution made by leisure aviation.

“Whatever plans the government decide on for the future of aviation, it is vital that these plans take into account the UK’s unique aviation mix, whether it comprises cargo, business or leisure travel.”