The growing worldwide demand for commercial air transportation – which is detailed in Airbus’ latest 20-year Global Market Forecast – will continue to drive the airline industry toward more efficient and operationally-effective aircraft, with large widebodies representing the majority in terms of sales value.
Unveiled during a press briefing in London today, the 2013-2032 Global Market Forecast anticipates that widebody jetliners such as Airbus’ A350 XWB, A330 and very large A380 will account for some 60 percent of the US$4.4 trillion in total sales value for the estimated 29,220 new passenger and freighter aircraft required in the next two decades.
The average size of aircraft has grown by approximately 25 percent worldwide in the past 20 years, and this trend will continue because of air traffic growth and the constraints on aircraft movements – particularly at airports, explained John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer – Customers, at today’s briefing.
He said Airbus is well positioned to compete in the widebody market with its A330, A350 and A380 families – which cover a segment that is expected to require six different aircraft from its competitor. “The airline industry needs simplicity; it does not need ‘two of these,’ ‘four of these’ or ‘five of these,’ to cover the market,” Leahy added. “So we are very happy with the way we’re positioned today.”
According to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast, the acquisition of larger aircraft not only allows airlines to carry more passengers on a given flight, but also helps reduce fuel burn and cost per seat. In addition, airlines are up-gauging aircraft in their existing backlogs and adding more seats to cabin configurations.
Even in the single-aisle market segment – which represents 71 per cent of deliveries by unit numbers in Airbus’ 2013-2032 Global Market Forecast, with estimated requirements for 20,242 aircraft valued at US$1.80 trillion – the trend is toward larger jetliners with higher seating capacities, according to Leahy. In this segment, Airbus’ product line is the in-production A320ceo (current engine option) and next-generation A320neo (new engine option) families.
“I remember when we had very strong demand for A319s, then it shifted to the larger capacity A320 version…and we’re now seeing very, very strong demand for [the longest fuselage] A321s,” he explained.
The Airbus Global Market Forecast is a regularly-updated 20-year outlook on aircraft demand and passenger flows, providing analysis based on the most comprehensive sets of data and calling on the very best forecasting techniques.