Some 25,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at US$3.1 trillion will be delivered from 2009 to 2028, according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast. Emerging economies, evolving airline networks, expansion of low cost carriers and the increasing number of mega-cities as well as traffic growth and the replacement of older less efficient aircraft with more eco-efficient airliners are factors driving demand for new aircraft.
Larger aircraft in all size categories are required to help ease aircraft congestion and to accommodate growth on existing routes and to achieve more with less. Compared to timescales for aircraft investment and fleet turnover, economic down cycles are relatively short and a strong underlying demand for air travel will drive growth. In 2009, a decline in Revenue Passenger Miles (RPM’s) of two per cent is expected to be followed by a rise of 4.6 per cent in 2010.
The forecast anticipates that in the next 20 years, passenger traffic RPM’s will remain resilient to the cyclical effects of the sector and increase by 4.7 per cent per year or double in the next 15 years. This will require a demand for almost 24,100 new passenger aircraft valued at US$2.9 trillion. With the replacement of some 10,000 older passenger aircraft, the world’s passenger aircraft fleet of 100 seats or more will double from some 14,000 today.
“Air transportation is a growth industry, and an essential ingredient in the world economy,” says Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy. “Technology and innovation are key drivers for an eco-efficient aviation sector, and Airbus is at the forefront of both.”
Air traffic growth, increased frequencies, cost reduction, environmental responsibilities and airport congestion are increasingly influencing airlines to capitalize on the benefits of larger aircraft, particularly within aircraft families by minimizing training and maintenance costs.
For example, in the US in 2007, airlines wasted 740 million gallons of fuel in congestion delays, equivalent to 32,000 London to New York flights. Bigger aircraft with reduced CO2 emissions are a solution. In the last 10 years aircraft have increased in size by three per cent and Airbus predicts that by 2028, the average aircraft will be 26 per cent bigger than today.
In the twin-aisle aircraft segment (seating from 250 to 400 passengers), some 6,250 new passenger and freighter aircraft will be delivered in the next 20 years, valued at some $1,300 billion, or 42 per cent by value. Of these, 4,240 aircraft will be small twin-aisle (250 to 300 seater) and about 2,010 intermediate twin aisles (350 to 400 seater).