Latest Airbus forecast unmoved on A380 demand

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Airbus is defiantly maintaining its optimistic 20-year outlook for high-capacity passenger jets despite not having recorded a firm sale of its A380 this year.

Its latest global market forecast sees demand for 1,334 aircraft in the category, a marginal increase on its figure last year. Asia-Pacific customers will take 47% of these.

“Asia-Pacific’s requirement for the A380 is demonstrated by the region’s growth in middle classes, which is set to quadruple [over 20 years],” says the airframer.

Just over a quarter of the high-capacity demand will come from the Middle East, and 16% from Europe, it adds.

Airbus predicts an overall requirement for 29,220 new aircraft for the two decades to 2032, up 3.6% on its previous outlook.

This total comprises 28,350 passenger aircraft – an increase of 1,000 – and a slightly-increased demand for 870 freighters.

Some 10,400 aircraft will be used for replacement. The remaining 18,820 would go towards expansion, more than doubling the current global fleet of 17,740 to 36,560 aircraft by 2032.

The airframer values new aircraft deliveries at almost $4.4 trillion.

Some 20,242 deliveries, about 70% of the total, will be single-aisle types, with 34% bound for Asia-Pacific customers. North American and European customers will each require 23%.

This demand will be driven in part by the low-cost carrier market which, Airbus says, will have increased its traffic market share to 21% by 2032, compared with the current level of 17%.

The budget airline sector is “helping to open new markets and give access to the benefits of flight to first time flyers from these regions”, says the airframer.

Asia-Pacific will also lead deliveries in the twin-aisle sector, for which Airbus puts demand at 6,779 airframes. The region will account for nearly half of deliveries, with Europe trailing at 15%.

Airbus, which released its latest forecast in London, expects air traffic over the 20-year period to rise at a rate of 4.7% per year. By 2032, it says, the number of “mega-cities” in the world will rise to 89 from 42 as a result of “increasing urbanisation”.

Indian domestic traffic will grow at the fastest rate, about 10%, followed by China and Brazil at 7%.