Airbus expects demand for almost 32,600 new passenger and freight aircraft over the next 20 years, spurred on by demand from the Asia-Pacific region.
The aircraft – 31,800 passenger and 800 freighters – would carry a value of $4.9 trillion, the European aerospace manufacturer predicted.
The update came in a market forecast released at the first day of the Paris Air Show as Airbus revealed a ramping up of production of its A350 XWB, rival to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus forecasts a trend towards higher capacity aircraft on long-haul and an increasingly wide range of regional and domestic sectors.
As a result, it expects the need for some 9,600 widebody passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at $2.7 trillion. This represents 30% of all new aircraft deliveries and 55% by value.
The latest Airbus forecast sees a requirement for nearly 23,000 new single-aisle A320-type aircraft worth $2.2 trillion over the next 20 years, an increase of nearly 1,000 aircraft compared to its previous forecast, representing 70% of all new units and 45% of the value of all deliveries.
Passenger and freighter fleets will more than double from today’s 19,000 aircraft to 38,500 in the period. Some 13,100 aircraft will be replaced with more fuel efficient types.
Emerging economies, which collectively account for six billion people, are seen as the engines of worldwide traffic growth.
They will grow at 5.8% a year compared to more advanced economies, like those in Western Europe or North America, that are forecast to grow collectively at 3.8%, according to Airbus.
Economic growth rates in emerging economies such as China, India, Middle East, Africa and Latin America will exceed the world average. A knock on effect is that middle classes will double to almost 5 billion people.
In today’s emerging economies, a quarter of the population take one trip per year, and this will increase sharply to 74% by 2034. In advanced economies, such as North America, the tendency to travel will exceed two trips per year.
Airbus chief operating officer, customers, John Leahy, said: “Asia-Pacific will lead in world traffic by 2034 and China will be the world’s biggest aviation market within 10 years, and clearly Asia and emerging markets are the catalyst for strong air traffic growth.
“Today, we are ramping up production of the A350 XWB and we are studying further production rate increases beyond rate 50 for single aisle aircraft to meet the increasing demand for air transportation.”
Long-haul traffic will increasingly be between aviation mega-cities, rising from 90% (900,000 passengers a day) today to 95% (2.3 million passengers a day) by 2034.
Aviation mega-cities are seen as being centres of urbanisation and wealth creation and will increase from 47 to 91 cities by 2034 with 35% of World GDP centred there.
These mega cities are already well served and the existing route network will accommodate 70% of all traffic growth between now and 2034.
Global traffic growth has led to average aircraft size ‘growing’ by 46% since the 1980s with airlines selecting larger aircraft or up-sizing existing orders.
Larger aircraft like the A380 combined with higher load factors make the most efficient use of limited slots at airports such as Heathrow and contribute to rising passenger numbers without additional flights.
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