Airbus Sees Asia-Pacific Needing More Than 17,600 New Aircraft Over 20 Years

Credit: Airbus/Christian Brinkmann

The Asia-Pacific region will see air freight more than doubling by 2040 as e-commerce growth pushes demand, Airbus said as it released it latest 20-year fleet forecast for the region on the eve of the Singapore Airshow.

Airbus expressed confidence in the long-term prospects for Asia-Pacific, which is still suffering the impact of the pandemic and travel restrictions, with international traffic demand down more than 93% versus 2019.

“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,” Airbus chief commercial officer and head of international Christian Scherer said.

The OEM forecasts that over the next 20 years, passenger traffic growth of 5.3% per annum and accelerated retirement of older aircraft will see the Asia-Pacific region require 17,620 new passenger and freighter aircraft. Nearly 30% of these will replace older models.

China, India and emerging economies like Vietnam and Indonesia will be the principal drivers of growth in Asia-Pacific, the manufacturer says. GDP will grow at 3.6% per year compared to the world average 2.5% and double in value by 2040. The middle class, most likely to travel, will increase by 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion and the propensity for people to travel will almost triple by 2040.

Small/narrowbody aircraft will be most in demand, with 13,660 needed, while there will also be a need for 2,470 medium and 1,490 large aircraft, Airbus says.

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, driven by e-commerce growth, and will lead to a need for some 2,440 freighters, of which 880 will be new-build, Airbus says.

Globally over the next 20 years, there will be a need for some 39,000 new-build passenger and freighters of which 15,250 will be for replacement.

Karen Walker

Karen Walker is Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief and Aviation Week Network Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief. She joined ATW in 2011 and oversees the editorial content and direction of ATW, Routes and Aviation Week Group air transport content.