Asia-Pacific to lead demand for bigger, more efficient planes

This would be 35 percent of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next two decades, ahead of Europe and North America.

Updated: Feb 25, 2013, 18:41 PM IST

New Delhi: Leaving behind Europe and North America, airliners from Asia Pacific region will lead the global demand for larger and more fuel efficient planes in next 20 years, according to latest forecast by Europe-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The companies are expected to take delivery of around 9,870 new passenger and cargo aircraft, including 3,840 widebody ones, valued at USD 1.6 trillion, it said, insisting the Asia-Pacific market "is where the action will be" during the period.

This would be 35 percent of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next two decades, ahead of Europe and North America.

In terms of value, the region would account for 40 percent of the global market for new airliners, reflecting the higher proportion of widebody aircraft required by Asia-Pacific carriers, the forecast said.

"The Asia-Pacific market is where the action will be in the air transport market over the next 20 years. Growing economies, bigger cities and increasing wealth will see more people flying, driving the need for larger and more efficient aircraft," said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer (Customers) of Airbus while presenting the forecast in Singapore on Monday.

Based on higher than average annual traffic growth of 5.8 percent and replacement of nearly 3,500 aircraft in service on Monday, the number of planes operated by Asia-Pacific carriers are expected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 4,300 aircraft today to a total of 10,440 jets.

With high levels of urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific region and air traffic continuing to remain concentrated around a growing number of major cities, larger aircraft would provide the most efficient means of meeting demand while overcoming airport constraints.

As a result, Airbus predicts that carriers in the region would acquire some 3,840 widebody aircraft over the next 20 years, accounting for 44 percent of worldwide demand in the larger aircraft categories.

The widebody deliveries to the region would 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.

The region would lead global demand for Airbus 380, accounting for 45 percent of deliveries. 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.

The latest Airbus forecast for the region also sees the number of single aisle aircraft in the region accelerating in the coming years.

This would be largely fuelled by the growth in the low cost airlines, which has increased by seven percent annually for the last ten years.

"This growth, plus replacement cycles, would 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," it said.

The region would continue to dominate the global market in the cargo sector.

According to the new forecast, the dedicated freighter fleet operated by Asia-Pacific airlines would grow from 316 today to some 887, representing 30 percent of the global freighter fleet.

While many of the aircraft would be converted from passenger models, Airbus predicts that around 251 new production freighters would be delivered to the region over the next two decades.

As in other world regions, around 30 percent of the freighters would be in the 45-70 tonne category served by mid-size widebody aircraft, such as the Airbus330.

The Asia-Pacific region is a core market for Airbus, accounting for 31 percent of all orders recorded by the company to date.

Airbus' Global Market Forecast foresees a need for some 28,200 passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly USD 4 trillion over the next 20 years.