Airbus predicts strong growth in airliner numbers to 2030
According to European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, demand for new aircraft over the next 20 years will total 26,900 new passenger jetliners and more than 900 dedicated freighters, with the Asia-Pacific region as a major growth driver. The combined value of the new aircraft will be about US$3.5 trillion.
In its latest Global Market Forecast, covering the years 2011-2030 – released in London on 19 September – the company says the demand will arise from the continuing “democratization” of air transport – driven by emerging economies, a global increase in wealth, greater urbanization, the need for more eco-efficient aircraft and a near-doubling of major airport hubs for mega-cities.
The forecast predicts an overall doubling of the global fleet of passenger airliners with 100 or more seats, increasing from 15,000 aircraft today to 31,500 by 2030. About 10,500 of the total new deliveries will be needed as replacements for older, less fuel-efficient aircraft. The trend towards larger aircraft will continue, in order for the aviation sector to keep pace with future growth in demand.
“Key factors identified in our new 20-year forecast include a strong driving of traffic growth by the emerging economies, the nearly doubling of traffic in and between more mature markets, and the positioning of Asia-Pacific as the leader in world traffic,” said John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer customers, speaking at a press conference on release of the forecast. “Other factors are a faster growth in long-haul traffic than short-haul, while the 39 cities worldwide that handle more than 10,000 long-haul passengers daily today [so-called ‘megacities’] will become nearly 90 cities in 20 years.”
The largest requirement will be in the single-aisle segment, which Airbus serves with its established A320 and new A320neo jetliner families. Demand for single-aisle jetliners seating 100-210 passengers will number 19,200 aircraft, representing a combined value of some US$1.4 trillion, Airbus says. Of this total, approximately half of the deliveries will be in the well-established North American and European airline markets.
For widebody, or twin-aisle, aircraft typically seating 250 to 400 passengers, Airbus forecasts “a broad segmentation with broad demand”.
The global widebody fleet will double, Airbus predicts, with deliveries of some 6,900 new passenger and freighter aircraft, with an estimated value of US$1.5 trillion. For passenger aircraft, about 70 percent of the demand will come from the 250-seat and 300-seat segments. In this category, Airbus offers its A330 widebody twinjet in passenger and freighter versions, along with the planned A350 XWB.
In the Very Large Aircraft (VLA) category – aircraft seating more than 400 passengers, such as the Airbus A380 – Airbus anticipates a requirement for 1,781 jetliners valued at some US$600 billion, which is an increase from the 1,738 aircraft predicted by the company’s 2010 forecast. Of that total, 45 percent of VLA deliveries will go to Asian airlines, followed by 23 percent for carriers in the Middle East and 19 percent for European airlines.
Airbus says its A380 was developed to meet the growing requirement for high-capacity aircraft to handle concentrated traffic volumes that link the world’s increasing number of high-traffic-density ‘megacities’ and large airport hubs.
“People need and want to fly more than ever before,” Airbus says. “Over the next 20 years the aviation sector is expected to remain resilient to cyclical economic conditions as in the past. Airbus forecasts that Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) will grow by an average 4.8 per cent per year, which is equivalent to traffic more than doubling in the next 20 years.”
Geographically, over the next 20 years, the Asia-Pacific region will account for approximately 34 percent of demand, followed by Europe (22 percent) and North America (22 percent). By share of passenger traffic, Asia-Pacific will be the biggest market with 33 percent, followed by Europe (23 per cent) and North America (20 per cent).
India and China will have the fastest-growing domestic markets, expanding at 9.8 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.
“The aviation sector is an essential element for today’s global economy which is why more people than ever need and want to fly,” Leahy said.
By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population or some 5 billion people will be urbanised and the number of megacities will have more than doubled to 87, with over 90 percent of long haul travellers flying between these major hubs, Airbus says.