In its annual Global Market Forecast (GMF), Airbus predicts 29,220 new passenger and freight aircraft valued at nearly US$4.4 trillion will be required to support the growing demand for air travel.
Some 28,350 of the predicted aircraft are passenger aircraft, of which 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.
Airbus bases its forecast on an annual 4.7 per cent growth in air traffic, fuelled by rapidly increasing middle class affluence in emerging markets such as China, India and South America. Other factors including accessibility to affordable air travel, tourism, and migration will also drive demand. The manufacturer also said increasing urbanisation will lead to a doubling of what the company terms ‘mega cities’ from the current 42 to 89 by 2032, with 99 per cent of the world’s long-haul traffic being between or through these.
The GMF reports that traffic growth has led to average aircraft size growing by 25 per cent, with airlines selecting larger aircraft or up-sizing existing backlogs.
“By 2032, Asia-Pacific will lead the world in traffic overtaking Europe and North America,” said Airbus’s John Leahy. “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.”
Domestic flows are also set to rise strongly with domestic India growing at the fastest rate (nearly 10 per cent), followed by China and Brazil (seven per cent). Overall, with an above world average traffic growth rate of 5.5 per cent, Asia-Pacific will account for 36 per cent of all new passenger aircraft demand, followed by Europe (20 per cent) and North America (19 per cent).
In the very large aircraft market, Airbus said there is a requirement for 1,334 passenger aircraft such as the A380. Of these, 47 per cent will be needed in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by the Middle East (26 per cent) and then Europe (16 per cent).
In the twin aisle market, including the A350 and the A330, the requirement is for 6,779 aircraft. Of these, 48 per cent of deliveries will be in Asia Pacific, followed by Europe (15 per cent) and the Middle East (13 per cent).
The single aisle market represents 71 per cent of deliveries by unit numbers with a requirement for 20,242 aircraft. Asia-Pacific will require 34 per cent of deliveries followed by North America and Europe requiring 23 per cent each.
The global success of low-cost carriers especially in Europe, but 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. According to Airbus, by 2032 low-cost airlines will have increased their traffic market share from today’s 17 per cent to 21 per cent.