Mike Martin/DUBAI

Airlines in the Middle East and North Africa will buy $50 billion worth of aircraft over the next 20 years. That adds up to 620 aircraft, according to the latest Airbus Industrie market forecast.

This prediction is 70 aircraft more than that forecast by Boeing earlier this week but is likely to be attributed to different definitions of the region.

Airbus says that growth in passenger traffic will account for 338 new aircraft, while replacements for aircraft currently in service accounts for 282. The 620 total is split between 300 single aisle aircraft and 320 widebody aircraft.

The Airbus forecast is based on growth projections for airlines serving the Middle East and North Africa.

It is based on predictions of an average growth rate in traffic of 4.6% a year across the 18 major airlines surveyed in the region. That is against the average worldwide growth predictions of 5%.


Airbus has a long and successful history in the region, with 200 aircraft orders, 160 of which are in service.

For the European manufacturer, the news has got better year by year, culminating in the first 10 months of 1999 when Airbus won all new airliner orders in the region.

Among the region's major customers for Airbus are Emirates - the largest Airbus customer in the region, and the single biggest customer worldwide for the A330-200. It has also ordered the world's longest-range airliner, the A340-500, for non-stop services from Dubai to the United States and Australia.

Saudia was the launch customer for the A300-600 and Kuwait was the first customer in the region for the A310.

Source: Flight Daily News