Airbus has released a report predicting that, over the next 20 years, passenger traffic growth of 5.3% per annum and accelerated retirement of older less fuel efficient aircraft will see the Asia-Pacific region require 17,620 new passenger and freighter aircraft. Nearly 30% of these aircraft will replace older, less fuel-efficient models.
Asia-Pacific accounts for 55% of the world’s population, with China, India and emerging economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia being the principal drivers of growth in the region. Airbus estimates that GDP in the region will grow at 3.6% per year compared to the world average of 2.5%, and double in value by 2040. The middle class, who are the most likely to spend on air travel, will increase by 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion, and the propensity for people to travel is predicted to almost triple by 2040.
Of the demand for 17,620 aircraft, 13,660 are in the Small category like the A220 and A320 Family. In the medium- and long-range categories, Asia-Pacific will continue to drive demand, with 42% of the global requirement. This translates to 2,470 Medium and 1,490 Large category aircraft.
Airbus says that cargo traffic in Asia-Pacific will also increase, at 3.6% per annum, well above the global 3.1% average, and will lead to a doubling in air freight in the region by 2040. Globally, express freight boosted by e-commerce will grow at an even faster pace of 4.7% per year. Overall, reflecting that strong growth over the next 20 years, Airbus estimates there will be a need for some 2,440 more freighters, of which 880 will be new-build.
“We are seeing a global recovery in air traffic and as travel restrictions are further eased, the Asia-Pacific region will become one of its main drivers again. We are confident of a strong rebound in the region’s traffic and expect it to reach 2019 levels between 2023 and 2025,” said Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International. “With an ever greater focus on efficiency and sustainable aviation in the region, our products are especially well positioned.”
Scherer points out that Airbus’s aircraft models offer a 20-25% reduction in fuel burn and compared with older generation aircraft, and they are all certified to fly with a blend of 50% SAF, set to rise to 100% by 2030. “In addition, our newly launched A350F offers efficiency gains of 10 to 40% compared to any other large freighter, existing or expected, both in terms of fuel consumption as in CO2 emissions,” he stated.
Globally, says Airbus, in the next 20 years, there will be a need for some 39,000 new-build passenger and freighter aircraft, of which 15,250 will be for replacement. As a result, by 2040 the vast majority of commercial aircraft in operation will be the latest generation, up from 13% today, improving the CO2 efficiency of the world’s commercial aircraft fleets.
The global aviation industry has already achieved huge efficiency gains, as shown by the 53% decline in aviation’s CO2 emissions per revenue passenger kilometre since 1990. In view of ongoing innovations, product developments, operational improvements as well as market-based options, Airbus says it is aiming to achieve the air transport sector’s target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.