Europe-based aerospace giant Airbus published on Friday its forecast for new airliner and freighter aircraft demand for the next 20 years. The group’s “Global Market Forecast 2018-2037” predicts a need for 37 390 new passenger and freighter aircraft over this period, taking the global fleet of such aircraft to a total of 48 000 (including existing aircraft that will still be in service).
Out of the 37 390 new aircraft, 10 850 will be to replace current, less fuel efficient, airliners, while the other 26 540 will be needed to meet the growing market demand. To fly these new aircraft, 540 000 new pilots will be needed.
Air traffic is predicted to show resilient growth, at 4.4% a year. This will be driven by an increase of 2.4 times in private consumption in emerging economies, an almost 100% increase in the size of middle classes worldwide and higher disposable incomes. Emerging market countries, which will be responsible for more than 60% of economic growth, will see trips per capita increase by 2.5 times.
The report also predicts that, because of the advance of air traffic liberalisation, the evolution of airline business models, and the increasing extent of air transport, the sector will become increasingly resilient to regional economic downturns. Technological developments resulting in greater range and capacity for aircraft will permit airlines to investigate new business openings while still being able to focus on cutting costs.
“There is a growing trend to use aircraft across a broader range of operations, with today’s more capable aircraft blurring the boundaries between market segments,” highlighted Airbus chief commercial officer Eric Schulz. “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.”
The small segment is composed of single-aisle airliners and the future demand in this category is estimated at 28 550 new aircraft. The medium segment is made up of longer-range single-aisle and smaller wide-body aircraft; Airbus’ forecast for this market is 5 480 airliners and freighter aircraft. The large segment is composed of aircraft with extra capacity and range flexibility, such as most Airbus A350s, and the expected demand is for 1 760 aeroplanes. The extra-large segment embraces the largest airliner types, such as the A350-1000 and Airbus A380 aircraft; demand in this market is forecast to be 1 590 aeroplanes.