KUALA LUMPUR (July 6): The demand for new aircraft over the next two decades could rise as high as 37,400, as the world's passenger fleet is expected to more than double to 48,000 with traffic growing at a resilient pace of 4.4% per year, according to a forecast by Airbus SE.
Airbus said its new Global Market Forecast 2018-2037 shows growth drivers include private consumption increasing 2.4 times in emerging economies, higher disposable incomes and a near doubling of the middle classes globally.
In a statement today, it observed that emerging countries will account for over 60% of economic growth, with trips per capita to multiply 2.5 times for these nations.
Combined with evolving airline business models and continuing liberalisation, Airbus foresees that the growing scale of air transportation will lead to an increasing resilience to regional slowdowns.
Airbus said greater aircraft range and capacity through technological developments allow airlines the flexibility to explore new business opportunities whilst maintaining focus on cost reduction.
Its chief commercial officer Eric Schulz said with today's more capable aircraft blurring the boundaries between market segments, there is a growing trend to use aircraft across a broader range of operations.
"These realities made us develop a new segmentation with small, medium, large and extra-large categories, reflecting more closely the way airlines operate aircraft.
"Thanks to the versatility of our leading, most comprehensive family of aircraft, the top end of our single aisles, the A321neo, fly efficiently on long haul routes and our wide bodies like the A330neo equally serve regional operations. We're extremely strong in this medium market segment," he added.
Airbus said it already leads in the small segment with the A320neo and in the large segment with the A350-900.
In the extra-large segment, the group said market for replacement aircraft is just starting and provides opportunities for the very efficient A350-1000 combined with the A380.
In the small segment, which typically covers the space where most of today's single-aisle aircraft compete, Airbus said there is a forecast future requirement for 28,550 new aircraft, representing more than three-quarters of total expected demand.
In the medium segment, for missions requiring additional capacity and range flexibility, represented by smaller widebodies and longer-range single-aisle aircraft, Airbus forecasts demand for 5,480 passenger and freight aircraft.
For additional capacity and range flexibility, the large segment, where most A350s are present today, it projects a need for 1,760 aircraft.
In the extra-large segment, typically reflecting high capacity and long range missions by the largest aircraft types including the A350-1000 and the A380, Airbus forecasts there will be demand for 1,590 aircraft over the next 20 years.
Of the 37,390 new aircraft required, Airbus said 26,540 are for growth and 10,850 will replace older generation less fuel efficient aircraft.
Airbus also said the growth would result in a need for 540,000 new pilots and the group will continue to evolve its business to meet the needs of its growing customer base.