Almost 26,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at $3.2 trillion will be needed between 2010 and 2029 to satisfy the capacity demand from...

Almost 26,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at $3.2 trillion will be needed between 2010 and 2029 to satisfy the capacity demand from airlines, according to the newly published 2010 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF).

According to the 2010 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 a need for 900 additional new passenger-aircraft deliveries compared to the 2009 GMF, reflecting a slightly higher forecast traffic-growth rate of 4.8 per cent compared with the 4.7 per cent rate forecast in 2009. These aircraft will mainly be in the single-aisle sector, in which the Airbus A320 family, the Boeing 737 family and new aircraft such as the Bombardier CSeries, COMAC C-919 and Irkut MS-21 will be competing.

Out of the nearly 26,000 additional passenger and freighter aircraft Airbus predicts will be needed, around 25,000 will be passenger aircraft whose combined list-price value will be $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, according to the GMF.

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, Airbus believes.

Airbus’ new fuel-saving engine option for its A320 family, the A320neo, gives airline customers a choice between CFM International’s LEAP-X (shown here on the A320neo) and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G

“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, Airbus’ 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, the domestic U.S. market leads the world in total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) with 11.3 per cent, followed by domestic China (8.4  per cent), intra-Europe (7.2 per cent), then U.S.-Western Europe routes (5.9 per cent).

However, in terms of  passenger-traffic growth, emerging economies are leading the air transport industry’s global recovery, according to the 2010 GMF. Domestic Indian traffic growth (9.2 per cent) 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 the PRC to the rest of the world.

“Airlines in [the] Asia Pacific, including China and India, will carry one third (33 per cent) of the passenger traffic by 2029, making it the largest region, overtaking Europe (25 per cent) and North America (20 per cent),” says Chris Emerson, Airbus’ head of product strategy and market forecast.

According to Airbus, commercial aircraft are getting bigger as airlines capitalise on the benefits of larger aircraft to absorb traffic growth, minimize airport congestion, reduce costs and to increase eco-efficiency.

Meanwhile, freight traffic is recovering at an even faster rate (5.9 per cent) than passenger traffic growth, the manufacturer says. In 2010, freight traffic is expected to rebound at a rate close to 18 per cent 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 over the next 20 years. While some 870 will be new aircraft valued at US$211 billion, 2,110 will be converted from passenger aircraft, according to Airbus.

Demand for very large aircraft (VLA), such as the A380, for passenger jets and freighters will be more than 1,700 aircraft valued at more than $570 billion, according to Airbus. This would represents 18 per cent of the total aircraft market by value and 7 per cent in terms of aircraft numbers. Of these, some 1,320 will connect the world’s increasing number of mega-cities, according to the 2010 GMF.

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 $1,340 billion (representing 42 per cent of the market by value and 24 per cent in terms of aircraft numbers. Of these, 4,330 aircraft will be small twin-aisle widebodies of 250 to 300 seats and about 1,910 intermediate twin-aisle jets seating 350 to 400 people. Airbus covers these segments today with its A330/A340 family. From 2013, the A350XWB family will cover the entire spectrum of twin-aisle market requirements, according to Airbus.

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

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