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Airbus forecasts demand for more than 27,800 aircraft over the next 20 years; global passenger fleet to double; the role of megacities

Airbus foresees strong ongoing demand for commercial aircraft. According to its latest Global Market Forecast (GMF), by 2030 some 27,800 new aircraft will be required to satisfy future market demand. The combined value of the more than 26,900 passenger aircraft (above 100 seats) and more than 900 new factory-built freighters forecast by the GMF is US$3.5 trillion.

As a result, by 2030 the global passenger fleet will more than double from today’s 15,000 aircraft to 31,500. This will include some 27,800 new aircraft deliveries of which 10,500 will be needed for replacing older less fuel efficient aircraft. The trend towards larger aircraft will continue, according to Airbus, in order for the aviation sector to keep pace with future growth in demand.

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 Kilometers (RPKs) will grow by an average 4.8% per year, which is equivalent to traffic more than doubling in the next 20 years.

Factors driving demand for new aircraft include population growth with increasing wealth, dynamic growth in emerging economies, strong continued growth in North America and European markets, greater urbanization and a more than doubling in the number of mega cities by 2030. Drivers also include the ongoing expansion of low cost carriers, and the need to replace older less efficient aircraft with new eco-efficient models in established markets.

Geographically, over the next 20 years, Asia-Pacific will account for approximately 34% of demand, followed by Europe (22%) and North America (22%). By share of passenger traffic, Asia-Pacific will be the biggest market with 33%, followed by Europe (23%) and North America (20%).

In terms of passenger traffic on domestic markets, India (9.8%) and China (7.2%) will have the fastest growth rates over the next 20 years. Long established aviation markets will also continue to grow with the Domestic US (11.1%) and Intra Western Europe (7.5%) having the first and third largest shares of the total traffic in 2030.

By 2030, 60% of the world’s population—some five billion people—will be urbanized and the number of megacities will have more than doubled to 87 from today’s 39. It is also forecast that more than 90% of long haul travelers will fly between these megacity points.

Demand for Very Large Aircraft (VLA) seating more than 400 passengers, such as the A380, has risen over 2010 forecasts (1,738) to 1,781 aircraft valued at US$600 billion. This represents a 17% share by value or 6% share by aircraft units. Of these, nearly 1,330 are passenger aircraft needed to cater for the concentrated traffic volumes linking the world’s mega cities. Regionally, some 45% of the world’s VLAs will be delivered to Asia, 19% to Europe and 23% to the Middle East.

In the twin-aisle aircraft segment (seating from 250 to 400 passengers), some 6,900 new passenger and freighter aircraft will be delivered in the next 20 years doubling the fleet of today by 2030. These deliveries are valued at some US$1,500 billion, representing 43% share by value, or 25% share by units. Of these, some 4,800 aircraft will be small twin-aisle (250 to 300 seater) and about 2,100 intermediate twin aisles (350 to 400 seater). These segments are covered by the Airbus A330 and the A350 XWB family.

In the single-aisle segment, nearly 19,200 aircraft worth some US$1,400 billion or 40% share by value, 69% share by units, will be delivered in the next 20 years. This is an increase over previous forecasts due to increased growth and acceleration in the replacement of older less efficient aircraft. Of the new deliveries, some 40% will be required to replacement needs. In addition some 50% of single aisle aircraft deliveries will go to the well established aviation markets of North America and Europe.

Boeing: strong need for aviation personnel in Asia Pacific. Separately, Boeing forecast that the Asia Pacific region will require hundreds of thousands of new commercial airline pilots and technicians over the next 20 years to support airline fleet modernization and the rapid growth of air travel.

The 2011 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook calls for 182,300 new pilots and 247,400 new technicians in the Asia Pacific region through 2030. The greatest need is in China, which will require 72,700 pilots and 108,300 technicians over the next 20 years.

North East Asia will need 20,800 pilots and 30,200 technicians over the next 20 years. South East Asia will require 47,100 pilots and 60,600 technicians. The Oceania region will need 13,600 pilots and 15,600 technicians and South West Asia will need 28,100 pilots and 32,700 technicians.



It would be interesting to know what the fuel cost assumptions behind this forecast are.
I expect air transport to have a tough time over the next 20 years.

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