Western Hydrogen produces first hydrogen from Molten Salt Gasification pilot plant
KAIST team engineers novel pathway for direct production of biogasoline by E. coli bacteria

Airbus: more than 29,000 new aircraft required in the next 20 years

According to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast (GMF), in the next 20 years (2013-2032) air traffic will grow at 4.7% annually, requiring more than 29,220 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.4 trillion.

Some 28,350 of these are passenger aircraft valued at US$4.1 trillion. Of these, some 10,400 will replace existing aircraft with more efficient ones. With today’s fleet of 17,740 aircraft, it means that by 2032, the worldwide fleet will double to nearly 36,560 aircraft.

Economic growth, growing middle classes, affordability, ease of travel, urbanization, tourism, and migration are some factors increasing connectivity between people and regions and how often they travel. Increasing urbanisation will lead to a doubling of megacities from 42 today to 89 by 2032, and 99% of the world’s long-haul traffic will be between or through these.

Traffic growth has led to average aircraft size ‘growing’ by 25% with airlines selecting larger aircraft or up-sizing existing backlogs. Larger aircraft such as the double-decker wide-body A380 combined with higher load factors make the most efficient use of limited slots and contribute to rising passenger numbers without additional flights, as announced by London’s Heathrow Airport.

By 2032, Asia-Pacific will lead the world in traffic overtaking Europe and North America. Today on average, a fifth of the population of the emerging markets take a flight annually and by 2032, this will swell to two thirds. The attraction of air travel means that passenger numbers will more than double from today’s 2.9 billion, to 6.7 billion by 2032, clearly demonstrating aviation’s essential role in economic growth.

—John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers

Domestic flows are also set to rise strongly with domestic India growing at the fastest rate (nearly 10%), followed by China and Brazil (7%). Overall, with an above world average traffic growth rate of 5.5%, Asia-Pacific will account for 36% of all new passenger aircraft demand, followed by Europe (20%) and North America (19%).

In the Very Large aircraft market, there is a requirement for 1,334 passenger aircraft valued at US$519 billion. Of these, 47% will be needed in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by the Middle East (26%) and then Europe (16%).

In the Twin Aisle market, the requirement is for 6,779 aircraft valued at US$1.82 trillion. Of these, 48% of deliveries will be in Asia Pacific, followed by Europe (15%) and the Middle East (13%).

The Single Aisle market represents 71% of deliveries by unit numbers with a requirement for 20,242 aircraft valued at US$1.80 trillion. Asia-Pacific will require 34% of deliveries followed by North America and Europe requiring 23% each. The global success of low cost carriers (LCC) especially in Europe, and increasingly in Asia, the Middle East and Africa is helping to open new markets and give access to the benefits of flight to first time flyers from these regions. By 2032, LCCs will have increased their traffic market share from today’s 17% to 21%.



Sales, desing and manufacturing of cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes and other transportation vehicles will shift to where the needs are strongest.

BRIC countries could very well be the places to go.


Airbus is a huge European success story, after the disaster of the 2nd world war, and lesser financial disasters of Concorde and the Dassault Mercure.

The benefits of European cooperation are enormous with large projects like airliners. It is crazy for the French and the English to design their own, when each can only be half done due to financial constraints.

Medium countries are too small to produce competitive airliners (competing against Boeing), but groups of them can do it.

Whether the planet can cope with another 18000 airliners flying every day is another matter.

I expect to see a reasonable flow of innovation mainly due to the high cost of oil.
Nothing concentrates the mind like $108 oil.
(For instance, Ryanair are flying a little slower to save fuel).
I say reasonable innovation (as opposed to huge innovation) as the designs are already close to optimal.
There is still room for improvements in air traffic control, as well as the usual "better engines, lighter structures" approach we have seen for the past 40 years.

Little things (like thinner, lighter seats with the magazine pocket at the top) can also help (by reducing seating pitch while maintaining legroom), but you end up with very crowded planes.

Thomas Lankester

@mahonj It depends what you mean by huge innovation as the Airbus hybrid concept looks pretty radical to me - https://sites.google.com/site/solarlifegreeneconomist/green-economy-news/energyefficiencyreacheshybridelectriceadsairbuse-thrust

Or maybe the Boeing blended wing concept is innovative enough - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-48


Extended 1000+ passenger A-380s type planes or large flying wings may become a reality by 2025/2035 or so to cope with more passengers flying between more major cities.

Ultra large planes can transport more people between major cities with less cost, fuel, pollution and air traffic jams.

Automated Ultra high speed electrified ground systems could move people from major city airports to final destinations with less cost, fuel, pollution and ground traffic jams..


We see all these concept aircraft year after year, but when it comes down to cutting metal (or carbon fibre), they are still using the tube and wing design - with good reason.

The aerodynamics of a flying wing may be impressive, but you still have to be able to evacuate it in the case of a crash and for that you need doors in the sides.

Propfans have been proposed and studied, but enhanced turbofans are used (presumably for noise reasons).

So when you combine efficiency, speed, safety and noise, it is a difficult set of variables to optimise.

The A380 has seen rather soft demand, and people are putting fewer seats in it, rather than more.
Initially, it was set for 550, then 525, with some airlines going as low as 407 (Korean Air).
The airlines seem to like the big twins better (A330, 777, 787 and A350 - have all sole in large numbers).
That is not to say that the demand would change, and then they could fly existing A380's with up yo 850 seats between major cities. The planes are there now, just the demand isn't.
The airlines may prefer to provide more frequent service with 300-350 seat planes that the occasional 800 seat behemoth.

And you are right on the "people mover" thing - there is no point ending up stuck in an airport, but it doesn;t have to be "ultra high speed", it just has to be there, ordinary trains will do fine (as long as the driver concentrates on his job!).

The comments to this entry are closed.