Airbus forecasts demand for 31,000 new aircraft over next 20 years

More than 31,000 new passenger aircraft and air freighters will be needed over the next 20 years, due to growing demand for air travel.

Growing middle classes in emerging economies taking to the skies will be the main drivers, according to Airbus.

The European aircraft manufacturer forecasts that the new aircraft will be worth $4.6 trillion (£2.8 trillion) of orders to the aerospace industry as passenger numbers grow at an annual rate of 4.7% from the current rate of 3 billion a year carried by 32 million flights.

The worldwide aviation sector is estimated to be worth $2.4 trillion a year and employs 60 million people.

Aircraft joining the modern day fleet mean the number of air freighters and airliners with 100 or more seats will more than double from today’s total of 18,500 to almost 37,500 by the year 2033.

Airlines are expected to retire 12,400 old and less fuel-efficient jets in the intervening period as they seek to cut costs in the age of ever-rising fuel prices.

Asia is expected to be the biggest single customer for new aircraft, taking 39% of them, more than combined total of the next two biggest regions, Europe at 20% and North America at 18%.

The predictions come in Flying on Demand, Airbus’s global market forecast which analysed themes seen by 800 passenger airlines and 200 freight operators, The Telegraph reported.

Airbus predicts a requirement for 9,300 widebody aircraft valued at $2.5 trillion over the next 20 years.

Some 7,800 of these new aircraft will be twin-aisle models with 250 to 400 seats and the remaining 1,500 will be very large aircraft with 400 or more seats.

The report also predicts that the number of “aviation mega-cities” – those with 10,000 or more international long-haul passengers a day – will almost double to 91 as economic growth in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East outstrips developed regions.

“Aviation is growing impressively and our latest forecast confirms its long-term growth,” said John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers.

“While mature aviation regions such as Europe and North America will continue to grow, Asia will stand out along with emerging markets for dynamic development. This growth trend is confirmed by Chinese domestic traffic becoming the world’s number one aviation market within the next 10 years”.

The forecast came as the manufacturer’s new generation A320neo made it maiden flight in France.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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