Global airline fleet to double

Global airline fleet to double

The world’s commercial aircraft fleet will more than double over the next 20 years, according to Airbus.

The European planemaker’s latest Global Market Forecast identifies a need for 27,350 new passenger aircraft (of 100 seats or more) between 2012 and 2031, worth approximately US$3.7 trillion.

Photo by Brendan Howard
Photo by Brendan Howard

Taking into account the number of older aircraft being retired, the world’s passenger fleet is expected to expand 110% from 15,550 today to more than 32,550 in 2031.

“Aside from growth in international traffic, by 2031 four of the world’s biggest traffic flows will all be domestic – US, China, intra Western Europe and India – and these account for a third of world traffic,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer for Customers. “In 20 years from now, China’s domestic passenger traffic will overtake the US domestic traffic to become the number one traffic flow in our forecast. Aviation is not just essential for international commerce, but also for domestic economies too.”

Asia Pacific will account for 35% of all new aircraft deliveries, followed by Europe and North America with 21% each. In value terms, the single biggest market is China followed by the US, UAE and India.

An estimated 1,330 very large aircraft (400 or more seats) like the A380 will have been delivered by 2031, valued at US$500bn. Asia Pacific leads demand (46%) for these high capacity aircraft, followed by the Middle East (23%) and Europe (19%).

In the twin-aisle aircraft (250-400 seats) market, 6,500 passenger aircraft worth US$1.6trn will be delivered in the next 20 years. These will include the A330, A350, Boeing 777 and 787. Again Asia Pacific (46%) leads demand, followed by Europe (17%) and North America (13%).

In the next 20 years, more than 19,500 single-aisle aircraft, such as the A320 and B737, worth over US$1.6trn, will be delivered over the next 20 years. This accounts for 71% of the total global demand. One third of deliveries will be in Asia Pacific followed by North America (25%) and Europe (22%). Airbus also noted that approximately 30% of single-aisle jets will be delivered to low-cost carriers.

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