Asia Pacific airlines are expected to take delivery of around 8,560 new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.
Valued at US$1.2 trillion, the requirement represents 33% of new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the forecast period, with the region overtaking North America and Europe as the largest air transport market.
The latest forecast for the region was presented in Hong Kong on Monday by Chris Emerson, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Market Forecast.
The Airbus forecast is based on stronger than average growth in both passenger and freight traffic in the region, combined with replacement of many of the existing aircraft in service. In terms of growth, Airbus expects the number of passengers carried by Asia Pacific airlines to rise by 5.8% per year while the amount of freight passing through the region will increase by 7.0% annually.
This compares with global average increases of 4.8% in the passenger market and 5.9% for cargo. At the same time, carriers in the region are expected to replace 78% of the 3,680 aircraft currently in service, ensuring that they continue to operate some of the youngest and most eco-efficient fleets in the world.
Airbus predicts that the region will continue to drive demand for larger aircraft types, reflecting the concentration of populations in the region around the main urban centres and the need for more seats between fast-growing mega-cities.
As a result, carriers in the region will acquire around 3,360 new widebody aircraft over the next two decades. This represents 40% of all widebody deliveries worldwide and includes some 780 very large aircraft such as the A380 and around 2,580 twin aisle widebodies such as the A330 and new A350 XWB.
Although a predominantly widebody market, demand for single aisle aircraft in the region is expected to accelerate in the coming years, with a requirement for some 5,200 new airliners in the 100 - 210 seat category, such as the best selling A320 Family. The increase will be driven primarily by the growth of low cost carriers, as well as the opening of new secondary short haul routes, especially in China, India and South East Asia.
In the cargo sector, the region will continue to dominate the global market, with the dedicated freighter fleet operated by Asia Pacific airlines growing almost four times to 1,056 aircraft. While many of these will be converted from passenger models, Airbus predicts that around 270 new production freighters will be delivered to the region over the next two decades. This represents over 30% of expected global demand for new production freighters.
Presenting the forecast, Chris Emerson said that Asia Pacific airlines would benefit from ongoing strong economic growth across the region, greater liberalisation of the air transport system in Asia and the effect of greater wealth creation enabling more people who have never flown to take to the skies.
“Within the next 20 years Asia Pacific airlines will be carrying a third of all passenger traffic worldwide and two thirds of all freight passing through the region,” he said.
“In order to meet the expected demand efficiently, larger aircraft will be needed to ease congestion and do more with less. With a modern, eco-efficient and comprehensive product line, including the only all-new aircraft in the very large segment, Airbus will be especially well placed to meet the needs of airlines in this region.”
The Asia Pacific region is a core market for Airbus accounting for over a quarter of all orders recorded by the company to date. Today there are some 1,700 Airbus aircraft in service with more than 70 operators across the region, with another 1,100 on order with customers for future delivery. This represents 32% 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 total demand for 25,850 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at US$3.2 trillion over the next 20 years. In the various size categories the forecast predicts total demand for 1,740 very large aircraft, 6,240 twin aisle widebodies and 17,870 single aisle aircraft.
The Airbus product line comprises the A320 Family, the popular A330/A340 and all-new A350 XWB in the twin aisle category and the flagship A380 in the very large aircraft segment. In the freight market Airbus currently offers the new mid-size A330-200F.