Asia-Pacific airlines will lead global demand for larger and more eco-efficient aircraft types over the next 20 years, according to the latest market forecast for the region by Airbus. The forecast was presented recently in Singapore by John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus.
Altogether, airlines from the region will take delivery of around 9,870 new passenger and cargo aircraft during the forecast period, valued at US$1.6 trillion. This represents 35 per cent of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next 20 years, ahead of Europe and North America. In terms of value, the region will account for 40 per cent of the global market for new airliners, reflecting the higher proportion of widebody aircraft required by Asia-Pacific carriers.
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 4,300 aircraft today to a total of 10,440 jets, based on higher than average annual traffic growth of 5.8 per cent and replacement of nearly 3,500 aircraft in service today.
Reflecting the high levels of urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific region, traffic will continue to be concentrated around a growing number of major cities, with larger aircraft providing the most efficient means of meeting demand while overcoming airport constraints. As a result, Airbus predicts that carriers in the region will acquire some 3,840 widebody aircraft over the next 20 years, accounting for 44 per cent of worldwide demand in the larger aircraft categories.
The widebody deliveries to the region will include 3,080 twin-aisle aircraft, such as the A330 and all-new A350 XWB, and around 760 very large aircraft with over 400 seats, such as the A380, for the busiest routes. At the top end of the market, the region will lead global demand for airliners such as the A380, accounting for 45 per cent of deliveries in this size category.
In addition to long haul services, carriers in the region will continue to operate large numbers of mid-size widebodies on regional services, with more routes being served in the future by aircraft carrying more than 400 passengers.
While Asia-Pacific carriers will lead demand in the larger aircraft segments, the latest Airbus forecast also sees the number of single aisle aircraft in the region accelerating in the coming years.
This will be largely driven by the ongoing growth in the low cost sector, which has increased by seven per cent annually for the last ten years. This growth, plus replacement cycles, will generate demand for some 6,030 new single aisle aircraft in the region, such as the best-selling A320 Family.
As with the widebody market, the average seating capacity of single aisle aircraft in the region will also grow, with a significant move towards the larger models offered by the various manufacturers and higher seating configurations.
In the cargo sector, the region will continue to dominate the global market. According to the new forecast, the dedicated freighter fleet operated by Asia-Pacific airlines will grow from 316 today to some 887, representing 30 per cent of the global freighter fleet. While many of the aircraft will be converted from passenger models, Airbus predicts that around 251 new production freighters will be delivered to the region over the next two decades. As in other world regions, around 30 per cent of the freighters will be in the 45 – 70 tonne category served by mid-size widebody aircraft, such as the A330.
“The Asia-Pacific market is where the action will be in the air transport market over the next 20 years,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “Growing economies, bigger cities and increasing wealth will see more people flying, driving the need for larger and more efficient aircraft.”
“Airbus will be uniquely placed to meet demand from airlines in the region with the most modern, efficient and comprehensive product line, ranging from 100 to over 500 seats and catering to every market segment.”
The Asia-Pacific region is a core market for Airbus, accounting for 31 per cent of all orders recorded by the company to date. Today, there are more than 2,100 Airbus aircraft in service with 97 operators across the region, with another 1,800 on order with customers for future delivery. This represents over a third of the company’s total backlog, reflecting the importance of the region as the fastest growing market for new civil aircraft.
Airbus’ forecast for the Asia-Pacific region is derived from the company’s Global Market Forecast, which foresees a need for some 28,200 passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.0 trillion over the next 20 years. In the various size categories the forecast predicts total demand for 1,710 very large aircraft, 6,970 twin aisle widebodies and 19,520 single aisle aircraft.
The Airbus product line comprises the best-selling A320 Family in the single aisle market, the popular A330 and all-new A350 XWB in the mid-size widebody category and the flagship A380 in the very large aircraft segment. In the freight market Airbus currently offers the new-build A330-200F and the A330 Passenger-to-Freighter (A330P2F) programme.