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Airbus sees 29,220 new aircraft, freighters needed in 20 years

Air traffic will grow at 4.7 percent annually over the next 20 years requiring over 29,220 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.4 trillion. Some 28,350 of these are passenger aircraft valued at US$4.1 trillion.

The latest global market forecast of Airbus revealed that  some 10,400 will replace existing aircraft with more efficient ones. With today’s fleet of 17,740 aircraft, it means that by 2032, the worldwide fleet will double to nearly 36,560 aircraft.

Economic growth, growing middle classes, affordability, ease of travel, urbanization, tourism, and migration are some factors increasing connectivity between people and regions and how often they travel.

Airbus said that increasing urbanization will lead to a doubling of mega cities from 42 today to 89 by 2032, and 99 percent of the world’s long-haul traffic will be between or through these.

Traffic growth has led to average aircraft size “growing” by 25 percent with airlines selecting larger aircraft or up-sizing existing backlogs. Larger aircraft like the A380 combined with higher load factors make the most efficient use of limited slots and contribute to rising passenger numbers without additional flights as announced by London’s Heathrow Airport.

Airbus said a focus on sustainable growth enabled fuel burn and noise reductions of at least 70 percent in the last 40 years and this trend continues with innovations like the A320neo, the A320 Sharklet, the A380 and the A350 XWB.

“By 2032, Asia-Pacific will lead the world in traffic overtaking Europe and North America. Today on average, a fifth of the population of the emerging markets take a flight annually and by 2032, this will swell to two thirds. The attraction of air travel means that passenger numbers will more than double from today’s 2.9 billion, to 6.7 billion by 2032, clearly demonstrating aviation’s essential role in economic growth,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers.

Domestic flows are also set to rise strongly with domestic India growing at the fastest rate – nearly 10 percent, followed by China and Brazil (7%). Overall, with an above world average traffic growth rate of 5.5 percent, Asia-Pacific will account for 36 percent of all new passenger aircraft demand, followed by Europe (20 percent) and North America (19 percent), said Airbus.

In the very large aircraft market dominated by the A380, there is a requirement for 1,334 passenger aircraft valued at US$519 billion. Of these, 47 percent will be needed in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by the Middle East (26 percent) and then Europe (16 percent). Asia-Pacific’s requirement for the A380 is demonstrated by the region’s growth in middle classes which is set to quadruple in Asia-Pacific in 20 years.

In the twin aisle market, covered by among others the A350 XWB and the A330, the requirement is for 6,779 aircraft valued at US$1.82 trillion. Of these, 48 percent of deliveries will be in Asia Pacific, followed by Europe (15 percent) and the Middle East (13 percent), Airbus added.