HONG KONG » Asia’s rapidly growing middle classes will drive demand for new airplanes through the next 20 years and help the region overtake North America and Europe as the world’s biggest air transport market, Airbus SAS said yesterday.
The European plane maker forecasts that the Asia-Pacific area will account for a third of global passenger aircraft deliveries in the next two decades, up from about a quarter in the previous 20 years.
Some 8,560 new passenger jets worth $1.2 trillion will be delivered in Asia by 2029, Airbus said. That number includes 3,360 large double-aisle aircraft, including superjumbo models such as the A380, as well as 5,200 smaller, single-aisle jets. About 25,850 new jets are forecast to be delivered worldwide in the same period.
The growth of megacities in Asia will require more large planes to service routes between those hubs, said Christopher Emerson, Airbus’s senior vice president of product strategy and market forecast.
Smaller jets will also be needed to fill demand from increasingly popular budget airlines, as well as new short-haul routes.
"If you look at the main drivers of tomorrow’s traffic — so for the next 20 years — in Asia (it’s) more people able and wanting to fly every day," Emerson said.
Airlines will also be looking to replace older, gas-guzzling planes with newer, less thirsty models, he said. About 3,680 aircraft are in service in Asia, and Airbus expects about 78 percent of those will be replaced.