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Economic growth drives Asia Pacific plane demand

By Staff Reports on February 11, 2014

Airbus and Boeing report that Asia-Pacific airlines will need a combined 23,760 airplanes delivered in the next 20 years.

Boeing says strong economic and passenger growth will be main drivers of new airplane demand in the Asia Pacific region. It estimates the region's airlines will need an additional 12,820 airplanes valued at US$1.9 trillion, representing 36 percent of the world's new airplane deliveries over the next 20 years.

"Asia Pacific economies and passenger traffic continue to exhibit strong growth," said Randy Tinseth, vice president, marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes during a media briefing before the opening of the Singapore Airshow. "Over the next 20 years, nearly half of the world's air traffic growth will be driven by travel to, from or within the region. The Asia Pacific fleet will nearly triple, from 5,090 airplanes in 2012 to 14,750 airplanes in 2032, to support the increased demand."

Airbus reports that Asia Pacific airlines from the region will take delivery of some 10,940 new passenger and cargo aircraft from 2013-2032, valued at US$1.8 trillion. This represents 37 percent of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next 20 years, ahead of Europe, North America and the Middle East.

“There is no doubting the importance of the Asia-Pacific market both today and in the future. We are pleased that Airbus plays a major role in this great growth story,” said John Leahy, Airbus COO customers.

Increasing urbanization from already high levels in the region means that 25 of the 89 mega cities in 2032 will be in Asia Pacific.

In the cargo sector, the region will continue to dominate the global market, Airbus says. It forecasts the freighter fleet operated by Asia-Pacific airlines will triple from just over 300 today to some 970, representing a third of the global freighter fleet by 2032. While many of the aircraft will be converted from passenger models, Airbus forecasts that around 270 will be new build.

Boeing's data projects that passenger airlines in the region will rely primarily on single-aisle airplanes such as the Next-Generation 737 and the 737 MAX, a new-engine variant of the 737, to connect passengers. Single-aisle airplanes will represent 69 percent of the new airplanes in the region.

Airbus also says there is a demand for single-aisle planes, particularly the larger types such as the A320/A321, due to the growth of new low-cost operations. The region will need 6,810 new deliveries of this type, representing more than a third of the world total.

"New low-cost carriers and demand for intra-Asia travel have fueled the substantial increase in single-aisle airplanes," Tinseth of Boeing said. "Fuel-efficient airplanes like the Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX help the growing number of low-cost carriers operate more efficiently and provide affordable fares to the emerging middle class."

For long-haul traffic, Boeing forecasts twin-aisle airplanes such as the 747-8 Intercontinental, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner will account for 28 percent of new airplane deliveries.

Airbus says Asia Pacific will need 3,350 twin-aisle aircraft and 4,130 wide-body aircraft over the next 20 years.