The 7% rise in Airbus's forecast for 20-year airliner demand in its latest Global Market Forecast (GMF) is driven largely by a jump in the size of the single-aisle market.
The European airframer predicts that the size and shape of long-term traffic flows will require some 19,170 new single-aisles to be delivered through to 2030 - a rise of 1,300 over the 17,900 single-aisles in last year's forecast.
Airbus believes that, globally, revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) will rise by 157%, from 4.8 trillion today to 12.3 trillion in 2030 - compared with a 153% increase forecast last year.
And it is the way this RPK growth will be distributed that is driving the increase in the forecast for single-aisles, said Airbus head of future programmes and market strategy, Chris Emerson.
"With the increase in RPKs we're forecasting year over year, we see the change in growth being allocated to the routes and city-pairs, where those shorter-haul single-aisle operations are," he added.
Despite the increase in the overall demand forecast, Airbus's total is still significantly lower than the latest outlook from Boeing, which was published in June.
"I think people might be surprised that the place where we have the biggest disagreement is not in the large airplane market, but in the single-aisle sector," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president marketing Randy Tinseth.
He calculates that when Boeing's single-aisle forecast (which includes large regional jets) is adjusted to reflect the same definitions as Airbus's, the Airbus total is still around 2,000 units lower.
Tinseth added: "We have around 23,000 single-aisles in our forecast, and my guess is that we would come down to 21,000 airplanes if we took the aircraft under 125 seats.
"I think in the Airbus forecast those seats find their way up to the larger size categories. They have this belief that there will be a paradigm shift in the market, and there will be a lot of big airplanes sold in the next 20 years."
Source: Flight Daily News