Airbus is forecasting demand for 39,210 new passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 20 years, up from the previous outlook figure of 37,400.

The airframer expects around 25,000 will be needed for growth – fewer than the 26,500 forecast last year – while the other 14,210 are needed for replacement of older models.

This overall demand will include over 29,700 small types – such as the A220 and A320 – plus nearly 5,400 medium models and 4,120 large aircraft.

Classification is not based simply on dimensions, however, as Airbus points out that an A321 can be categorized as either small or medium depending on the range over which it is configured to operate – a notable development given the launch of the long-range A321LR and A321XLR.

Similarly the A330neo could edge into the “large” category, depending on specific airline operations, alongside the A350.

The airframer has dropped a previous fourth category, “extra large”, which had previously been occupied primarily by the A380 before the decision earlier this year to terminate production.

Airbus has detailed the prediction in its latest global market forecast, covering the period 2019-38, unveiled during an event in London on 18 September.

Combined with 8,470 aircraft which will be retained from the current fleet, the new aircraft delivered over the next two decades will take the overall world fleet to 47,680.