Airbus has forecast that rising incomes and the explosion of low cost carriers will lead to demand for close to 10,000 new aircraft from airlines in the Asia-Pacific region over the next 20 years.

Speaking in Singapore, Airbus's chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, said the region will require 9,890 new aircraft out to 2031, valued at $1.6 trillion.

That figure comprises 6,030 narrowbody, 3,080 twin-aisle and 760 high-capacity aircraft - those with more than 400 seats. The latter market represents 45% of deliveries for such aircraft, Airbus says.

"The Asia-Pacific market is where the action will be in the air transport market over the next 20 years," says Leahy. "Growing economies, bigger cities and increasing wealth will see more people flying, driving the need for larger and more efficient aircraft."

Leahy also highlights the role of low-cost carriers, noting that the number of routes served by them in Asia has grown six-fold over the last 10 years.

"I can remember about 15-20 years ago coming out to Asia-Pacific and it was generally understood that the low-cost model wouldn't work in Asia. Everybody got that wrong," he says.

Airbus also predicts demand for 251 new-build freighters which, in addtition to 320 converted aircraft, will take the region's fleet of freighters from 316 today to 887 by 2031.

Leahy adds that 34% of Airbus's firm order backlog is for carriers in the region. "We're lined up perfectly in terms of demand, with the biggest growth in the market being Asia-Pacific," he says.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news