Asia-Pacific to become biggest aviation market: Airbus .


By the end of the next decade, Asia-Pacific airlines – including those in China and India – will be carrying about a third of the world’s passenger traffic, making the region the world’s largest aviation market, according to Chris Emerson, Airbus’s head of product strategy and market forecasts.


By comparison, the region today accounts for about 27 percent of global traffic, says the manufacturer’s Chief Operating Officer (Customers) John Leahy. “That’s about the same as either Europe or the USA, which in 2029 will carry 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively,” he adds.


In the next few years, emerging economies – especially China – are seen as leading the world’s recovery from economic recession.


“Seven out of the top 20 fastest-growing [passenger traffic] flows connect China to the rest of the world,” say Airbus analysts. “Domestic Indian traffic growth [at 9.2 percent per year] is the fastest of any major market and the third-fastest growth overall.”


The only faster-expanding passenger traffic markets are routes between the Middle East and South America, and between North Africa and China.


The figures are included in the latest Airbus 20-year global market forecast (GMF), which covers the period 2010-29. In that time, some 25,850 new passenger and freighter aircraft, valued at US$3.2 trillion, will be needed to satisfy perceived requirements.


“This demand is primarily driven by the replacement of aircraft for newer, more efficient models in mature markets, dynamic growth in new, emerging markets, low-cost carriers (particularly in Asia), further market liberalisation (or deregulation), and capacity growth on existing routes.”


Compared with the previous Airbus document, covering 2009-28, the new forecast predicts delivery of a further 890 new passenger aircraft, reflecting a slightly higher, 4.8 percent annual growth rate compared with the 4.7 percent yearly trend foreseen in 2009. The additional new machines will mainly be in the single-aisle sector, in which the Airbus A320 series competes against the Boeing 737 family (and which Bombardier plans to enter with its110- to 130-seat CSeries).


Of the predicted additional passenger and freighter aircraft needed, all but 870 will be passenger models worth a projected US$2.9 trillion. Of these 24,980 passenger aircraft, Airbus says 10,000 will be replacements for older, less efficient aircraft, while the rest will be required to provide extra capacity.


“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,” according to Emerson.


“The recovery is stronger than predicted and [confirms] both the resilience of the sector to downturns and that people want and need to fly,” says Leahy. “The single-aisle sector is particularly strong.”


Looking more closely at passenger-traffic volume, Airbus reports that domestic US flights lead with an 11.3 percent market share, followed by domestic China (8.4 percent), intra-European traffic (7.2 percent), and then US to western European destinations (5.9 percent).


As the maker of the 525-seat A380, the world’s largest airliner, the European manufacturer never misses an opportunity to argue that, on average, aircraft are getting bigger. It claims airlines are capitalising on the benefits of larger aircraft to absorb traffic growth, minimize airport congestion, reduce costs, and to increase efficiency.


Emerson points out that average size of newly delivered machines is growing (from an average 179 seats in 2005 to 184 four years later), while retirements are increasingly involving smaller aircraft (down in capacity from 184 passengers six years ago to 173 in 2009). And the larger size of new aircraft is not a new phenomenon: Airbus says it has tracked the trend for more than 20 years.


The air-cargo business has been recovering from recession even faster than the passenger side, at a 5.9 percent annual growth rate.


For 2010, freight traffic is expected to have rebounded “at closer to 18 percent, before levelling off at more typical growth levels by the end of 2011,” says Emerson. “Combined with fleet renewal, this translates to a [20-year] 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,” he adds.


The European manufacturer puts passenger and freighter demand for very large aircraft (VLA) aircraft at 1,740, worth US$570 billion (and representing 18 percent of the total market by value and 7 percent by units). Of these, about three-quarters (or 1,320 aircraft) will be deployed to connect the increasing number of what Airbus terms “mega” cities.


Dividing the twin-aisle sector into segments either side of the 350-seat capacity mark, Emerson says that 4,330 will be smaller (250- to 349-seats) with about 1,910 intermediate-sized (350- to 449-seats). Together, these two subsectors are expected to account for 42 percent of the market by value and 24 percent by units.


In the single-aisle segment, 17,870 aircraft worth some US$1.274 trillion (40 percent of the market by value, or 69 percent by unit numbers) are forecast to be delivered between now and 2029.


“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 liberalisation,” concludes Emerson.



Airbus comparative 20-year market forecast*

Category                                                 2010-29                     2009-28

Single-aisle                                                  17,870                     16,980           

Twin-aisle (250-349 seats)                           4,330                        4,240

                 (350-449 seats)                             1,910                        2,010

Very large aircraft                                       1,740                        1,730

Total                                                            25,850                        24,960

*passenger aircraft with at least 100 seats and freighters of more than ten tons





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