Over 33,000 new planes valued $5.2 trn required in the next 20 years

Airbus’ Global Market Forecast has predicted that in the next 20 years that passenger traffic will grow at an average 4.5 per cent a year, driving a need for over 33,000 new aircraft above 100 seats (32,425 passenger & 645 freighters greater than 10 tonnes) worth US$5.2 trillion.

According to the forecast, by 2035, the world’s aircraft fleet will have doubled from today’s 19,500 aircraft to almost 40,000 while some 13,000 passenger and freighter aircraft will be replaced with more fuel efficient types.

While urbanisation and increased wealth in emerging economies particularly in Asia is powering air traffic growth, with a combined population of over six billion people, these economies will grow at 5.6 per cent per year and the propensity to travel will triple to 75 per cent of its population.

Whilst GDP remains a key driver in traffic growth, we see private consumption (a component of GDP) becoming a more significant economic variable on some important flows including domestic China and domestic India. Middle classes in emerging markets will double to 3.5 billion people by 2035.

Globally, by 2035, 62 per cent of world population will be city dwellers and the number of aviation mega cities will rise from 55 to 93 by 2035. These centres of wealth creation many 47 of which are already schedule constrained airports will account for 35 per cent of world GDP. In 20 years the number of daily long haul passengers travelling to, from, or via aviation mega cities, will more than double to 2.5 million.

Airbus’ global services business which today spans six customer support centres, and 14 training centres is set to expand further as the next 20 years sees a requirement for some one million pilots and engineers (560,000 new pilots, 540,000 new engineers) to fly the and maintain the new aircraft.

In the widebody market, Airbus forecasts a trend towards higher capacity aircraft and forecasts a requirement for over 9,500 widebody passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at some US$2.8 trillion.

This represents 29 per cent of all new aircraft deliveries and 54 per cent by value. Most widebody deliveries (46 per cent) will be in the Asia Pacific region. In this segment, Airbus’ A330, A330neo, A350 XWB and the A380 offer the most comprehensive widebody product range between 200 and above 600 seats.

Traffic growth is leading to larger aircraft which have grown by over 40 per cent since the 1980s as airlines select larger aircraft or up-size existing backlogs.

Left–Right: John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Airbus, Fabrice Bregier, Chief Executive Officer Airbus, Sir Richard Branson, President Virgin Group, Craig Kreeger, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic and Shai Weiss, Chief Finance Officer, Virgin Atlantic at the unveiling of the $4.4 billion 12 A350-1000 aircraft order by the British flag carrier.