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Fri, Dec 17, 2004

Airbus Sees Strong Market For Commercial Aircraft Through 2023

Forecast: More Than 17,300 New Aircraft Will Be Needed By Then

More than 17,300 new passenger and freight aircraft with a value of US$1.9 trillion will be required by aircraft operators between 2004 and 2023, according to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast.

Airbus forecasts that 16,600 new passenger aircraft of more than 100 seats will be needed in the coming 20-year period, creating an average delivery of 830 passenger aircraft per year. This requirement results from a three-fold growth in passenger traffic, or an average annual traffic growth in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) of 5.3 per cent, and the replacement of 9,200 less fuel-efficient passenger aircraft through to 2023.

Air freight is forecast to grow even faster, with freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) increasing annually by 5.9 per cent over the same period, generating the need for more than 700 new and 2,400 converted freighters.

Overall this period includes the strongest traffic-growth recovery seen since 1980 and highlights the resilience of the industry to the effects of recent world events.

The strong economic development of the Asia-Pacific region, especially in emerging economies, and the increasing impact of low-cost carriers in all domestic markets will significantly contribute to this growth. The nine trillion RPKs forecast in 2023 will largely be generated in Europe (32 per cent), Asia-Pacific (31 per cent) and North America (26 per cent).

To accommodate this three-fold growth in passenger traffic, the number of flights offered on passenger routes and the number of passenger aircraft in service will more than double in twenty years, accompanied by the use of larger aircraft. Airbus therefore forecasts that the average number of seats per passenger aircraft will increase by 20 per cent from 181 to 215 over this period.

Demand for air travel will result in the expansion of international traffic through the development of new routes as well as through consolidation of the major hubs. The bulk of the traffic growth will be driven by the concentration of population, wealth and industrial activities as well as the desire for low fares.

Accounting for 22 per cent of the value of all new aircraft delivered in the next 20 years, as many as 1,650 new large passenger and freight aircraft worth US$416 billion will be required. This includes 1,250 new passenger aircraft seating 450 or more passengers, of which more than half will serve the high-density population centers in Asia-Pacific. Bigger, more spacious and more economical than anything flying today, new large passenger aircraft will enable airlines to meet growing demand for air travel despite increasing congestion in the air and on the ground, while their lower operating costs will allow operators to respond both to intensifying competition and to the increasing price-sensitivity of demand for air travel as markets mature.

The requirement for twin-aisle passenger aircraft will continue to grow strongly with 4,450 new twin-aisle aircraft worth US$682 billion, or 38 per cent of the global value of new passenger aircraft, being delivered in the next two decades. Twin-aisle types will operate in diverse markets, covering short/medium-range operations with aircraft like the A330 as well as longer-range routes with types such as the A350 and A340. Two-thirds of all new twin-aisle aircraft will be delivered to airlines in Europe and Asia-Pacific, stimulated by increasing tourism and the internationalization of business. Within the twin-aisle category, airlines will need as many as 3,100 aircraft of 250-300 seats, a market targeted by the A330 and its A350 sistership.

Single-aisle aircraft with more than 100 seats will continue to dominate the world’s passenger fleet with more than 15,100 such aircraft being in service by 2023. Deliveries of 10,900 new single-aisle aircraft worth US$761 billion at current list prices will be needed in the next two decades. More than two thirds of new single-aisle aircraft will be delivered to the US and Europe where there are more dispersed population centers, while the increasing presence of low-cost operators in Asia-Pacific will provide another important factor driving demand.

Influenced by increasing freight traffic flows from Asia and by the retirement of two-thirds of freighters currently in service, as many as 3,100 freighter deliveries will be required through to 2023, although three quarters of these will be converted passenger aircraft. The large freighter segment will experience the strongest growth over this period and will account for more than half the number and two-thirds of the value of all new freighters.

The Airbus Global Market Forecast analyses world traffic development as well as the year-by-year fleet evolution of the world’s largest (309) airlines and (121) subsidiaries and (131) freight operators for the next 20 years, taking into account all the driving factors and market dynamics that influence development of the current and future air transport system.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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