Airbus Sees Demand For 26,000 Aircraft In The Next 20 Years


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Airbus Sees Demand For 26,000 Aircraft In The Next 20 Years

By Eddy Metcalf


December 16, 2010 - Almost 26,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at US$3.2 trillion will be needed between 2010 and 2029, to satisfy demand according to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast (GMF).

This demand is primarily driven by replacement of aircraft for newer more eco-efficient models in mature markets, dynamic growth in new emerging markets, low-cost carriers particularly in Asia, further market liberalization and capacity growth on existing routes. 

The 2010 GMF forecasts 900 additional new passenger aircraft deliveries over the 2009 GMF reflecting a slightly higher growth rate of 4.8% compared to 4.7% in 2009. These aircraft will mainly be in the single aisle sector in which the A320 Family competes. 

Out of the almost 26,000 additional passenger and freighter aircraft needed, around 25,000 will be passenger aircraft valued at over US$2.9 trillion. Of these additional passenger aircraft, 10,000 will replace older less eco-efficient aircraft and some 15,000 will be for growth.

Taking into account today’s passenger fleet of over 14,000 aircraft, the world passenger fleet will rise to some 29,000 aircraft by 2029. “The recovery is stronger than predicted and reinforces both the resilience of the sector to downturns and that people want and need to fly,” says John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers.

“The single aisle sector is particularly strong, and our A320neo meets this future demand by providing our customers with the latest innovations and technologies whilst maintaining maximum commonality. Our entire product range is very well positioned to meet the economic and environmental needs for sustainable growth for the decades ahead.” 

In passenger traffic volume, domestic US leads the world in total RPK’s (11.3%) followed by domestic China (8.4%), Intra European (7.2%), then US to Western European routes (5.9%). In passenger traffic growth terms, emerging economies are leading the recovery. Domestic Indian traffic growth (9.2%) is the fastest of any major market and the third fastest growth overall, after traffic between the Middle East and South America, and between North Africa and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Seven out of the top 20 fastest growth flows connect China (PRC) to the rest of the world.


“Airlines in Asia Pacific including China and India will carry one third (33%) of the passenger traffic by 2029, making it the largest region, overtaking Europe (25%) and North America (20%),” said Chris Emerson, Head of Product Strategy and Market Forecast. Aircraft are getting bigger as airlines capitalize on the benefits of larger aircraft to absorb traffic growth, minimize airport congestion, reduce costs and to increase eco-efficiency.

Freight traffic is recovering at an even faster rate (5.9%) than passenger traffic growth. In 2010, freight traffic is expected to rebound closer to 18% before leveling off at more typical growth levels by the end of 2011. Combined with fleet renewal, this translates to a demand for around 2,980 freighters. While some 870 will be new aircraft valued at US$211 billion, 2,110 will be converted from passenger aircraft.

Demand for Very Large Aircraft (VLA) passenger and freighter aircraft like the A380, is more than 1,700 valued at over US$570 billion (this represents 18% by value and 7% by units). Of these, some 1,320 will connect the world’s increasing number of ‘mega’ cities. In the twin-aisle aircraft segment (seating from 250 to 400 passengers), some 6,240 new passenger and freighter aircraft will be delivered in the next 20 years, valued at some US$1,340 billion (representing 42% by value and 24% by units).


Of these, 4,330 aircraft will be small twin-aisle (250 to 300 seater) and about 1,910 intermediate twin aisles (350 to 400 seats). These segments are covered by the A330/A340 family. From 2013, the A350XWB family will cover the entire spectrum of twin aisle market requirements.

In the single-aisle segment, almost 17,900 aircraft worth some US$1,274 billion (40% by value, or 69% units), will be delivered in the next 20 years. This is an increase over previous forecasts due to the accelerating demand for single aisle aircraft particularly in Asia Pacific, the emergence of low-cost carriers and increased route liberalization.

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