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Airbus forecasts Asia-Pacific will need ~11,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years

11 February 2014

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region will lead global demand for larger and more eco-efficient aircraft over the next 20 years, according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast (GMF). Airlines from the region will take delivery of some 10,940 new passenger and cargo aircraft from 2013-2032, valued at US$1.8 trillion, according to the GMF. This represents 37% of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next 20 years, ahead of Europe, North America and the Middle East.

In value terms, the region will account for 42% of the global market for new airliners, reflecting the higher proportion of widebody aircraft required in Asia-Pacific.

In the passenger market, the fleet of aircraft operated by Asia-Pacific carriers is expected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 4,960 aircraft today to more than 12,130 jets, based on higher than average annual traffic growth of 5.8% and replacement of nearly 3,770 aircraft in service today.

Increasing urbanization from already high levels in the region means that 25 of the 89 mega cities in 2032 will be in Asia-Pacific. In this period, Asia Pacific will be home to 90 cities with more than one million passengers. Traffic will increasingly concentrate around these cities, with larger aircraft providing the most efficient means of meeting demand while overcoming airport constraints. As a result, Airbus forecasts that carriers in the region will acquire some 4,130 widebody aircraft over the next 20 years (46% of worldwide demand).

Today the A330 twin-aisle aircraft is used extensively in the region by its airlines for international services, and connecting people regionally. This trend will develop further in the years ahead driving the need for 3,350 twin-aisle aircraft, such as the A330 and new A350 XWB, and around 780 very large aircraft with more than 400 seats such as the A380 for the largest and in some cases most constrained airports.

In the single-aisle market, the growth of new low cost operations is stimulating demand for these aircraft particularly the larger types such as the A320/A321. Since 2000, the average aircraft capacity operated by low cost carriers has grown by nearly 50%. In the next 20 years, the region will need 6,810 new deliveries of this type representing over a third of the world total, according to the forecast.

In the cargo sector, the region will continue to dominate the global market. Airbus forecasts the freighter fleet operated by Asia-Pacific airlines will triple from just over 300 today to some 970, representing a third of the global freighter fleet by 2032.

While many of the aircraft will be converted from passenger models, Airbus forecasts that around 270 will be new-build. As in other world regions, around 30% of the freighters will be in the 45 – 70 tonne category served by mid-size widebody aircraft, such as the A330.

The Asia-Pacific region is a core market for Airbus, accounting for 31% of all orders recorded by the company to date. Today, there are more than 2,400 Airbus aircraft in service with around 100 operators across the region, with more than 1,700 on order with customers for future delivery. This represents more than one-third of the company’s total backlog, reflecting the importance of the region as the fastest growing market for new civil aircraft.

Overall, the Global Market Forecast foresees a need for some 29,200 passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.4 trillion over the next 20 years, including 1,710 very large aircraft, 7,270 twin aisle widebodies and 20,240 single aisle aircraft.

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