Well, it is ‘just’ a forecast, but the Airbus GMF and its Boeing equivalent are about the most comprehensive documents on the future of air transport that most people will ever see without paying a lot of money. And the latest Airbus effort, covering 2007-2026 and presented in London today primarily by John Leahy, is very elegantly done. You can see it all at the link above – set aside some time, lots of remarkable stuff buried in there. But here are a few points that popped up at the event…1. It forecasts a requirement for 24,262 aircraft (>100 seats), which is 1,600 more than last year’s forecast. That’s mainly because it expects fewer used aircraft to go back into the market (notably MD-80s), accounting for 700 of them, and a higher traffic growth rate.
2. The total value is $2.8 trillion. (How much!!!) And in Leahy’s words, it’s a duopoly. In my words, buy EADS and Boeing stock, and hold it for your kids.
3. Top 5 markets by value: USA, China, UK (wow, and that’s without Ryanair which is in Ireland), India and Japan.
4. Market division by value is: 40% narrowbody; 40% twin-widebodies; 20% very large aircraft (VLA).
5. Airbus still professes huge confidence in VLA. Forecasts 1,283 in service in 2026, assuming the most benign congestion scenario. But says VLA sector is exceptionally sensitive to airport congestion and the number is 1,528 for ‘medium-congestion, and 1,771 for ‘high-congestion’.
6. Yes, Leahy is very happy to see only one pax customer (Lufthansa) for the 747-8 “and I am not sure they will even be able to keep them”, says he. (That’s an awful lot of A380s don’t you think?)
7. The assumed oil price is $80-95 over the next five years, then easing somewhat.
8. The big messages today: epic demand for the foreseeable; duopoly for at least 20 years and probably beyond; widespread airport congestion driving up aircraft sizes; and, for the first time, a lengthy digression into Airbus work on improving environmental acceptability.
9. The mood: as I’ve commented recently, the truce holds. So no Boeing-bashing. Lots of talking up of air transport in general. And a kinder, gentler Leahy.