AIRBUS FORECASTS that, within the next five years, it will be in a straight fight with US manufacturers, winning half of the world's new jet-airliner orders in a market worth around $50 billion a year.

The consortium now has around 30% of new orders, but has plans to "keep stepping up" its market share until, "by around the turn of the century", it closes on a goal of 50% of all ordered aircraft, says John Leahy, senior vice-president commercial.

The comments came as Airbus unveiled a global-market forecast predicting annual jet-airliner sales of around $1,000,000 billion over the next 20 years.

If Airbus were to achieve its eventual market-share target, its annual sales could reach around $25 billion in the next decade. That is three times the consortium's existing performance and greater than Boeing's current level of sales.

Deliveries of new and used aircraft are expected to average around 750 a year, putting them close to the level of the last peak, in 1991. Excluding existing orders Airbus forecasts a market for 13,400 new aircraft.

Although the greatest number of sales will be of narrow-bodies, largely because of fleet replacements, Airbus concludes that the 300-seat market will lead in terms of value. Overall, wide-bodies are expected to make up nearly half of the world fleet by 2014.

Adam Brown, vice-president strategic planning, points out that much of this wide-body growth, will come from the Asia-Pacific region, where high traffic growth and infrastructure constraints, are expected to fuel the need for larger aircraft. Brown suggests a mix of A330/340 types alongside aircraft with more than 600 seats.

Asia-Pacific fleets are expected to treble their capacity to take one-third of the world total by 2014, just stealing the lead from North America. Europe will stay at around one quarter of the world total.

Source: Flight International