Airbus expects a virtual doubling of the commercial aircraft services market, to $255 billion, over the next 20 years, driven by digital aircraft capabilities and rising traffic.

Maintenance will account for the largest share, around $210 billion in 2042, while training and operation will generate $17 billion, and aircraft enhancement another $28 billion.

This will create a demand for 2.2 million personnel – comprising 680,000 technicians, 590,000 pilots and 920,000 cabin crew – over the next two decades.

Airbus disclosed the prediction in its latest global services forecast on 29 November.

It states that China will become the largest market for services by 2042, with an overall value of $54 billion, ahead of Europe with $48 billion and North America at $45 billion.

The rest of the Asia-Pacific region will be worth $43 billion.

South Asia, China and the Middle East will experience the fastest growth in the sector, the airframer adds.

Airbus points out that nearly 17,200 commercial aircraft are likely to be withdrawn from service over the period.

This will create a “huge opportunity to stimulate our circular economy”, it says, through recycling and reuse.

It puts a $17 billion value on aircraft freighter conversions while estimating the market for used serviceable material at $45 billion.

Airbus services-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

Airbus forecasts a 20-year need for 2.2 million personnel in the aircraft services sector

“Airbus is well positioned to answer today’s and future services needs in order to support the industry doing more with less,” insists senior vice-president for customer services Cristina Aguilar Grieder.

Along with the forecast rise in air traffic, the airframer highlights the contribution of increasing aircraft digital connectivity – with a “step change” arising from an ecosystem linking ground, flight, technical operations as well as the passenger experience.

It expects some 44,000 aircraft to be digitally connected by 2042.

Head of services marketing Sonia Dumas says more than 140 airlines are connected to the airframer’s Skywise platform which uses in-flight, engineering and operational data to support predictive maintenance and health monitoring.

She says this level of participation means Airbus has “reached a critical mass” for data collection, enabling algorithms to be representative of the entire fleet.