A 20-Year Forecast for Airplanes (BA)

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Boeing cockpitThe demand for new civilian passenger and freight aircraft in the 2012-2031 time frame promises to double the existing fleet at a cost of about $4 trillion over the 20-year period. The forecast comes from the Airbus division of the European Aerospace Defence and Space Co. in the company’s latest Global Market Forecast.

Airbus and its chief rival Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) will slug it out for supremacy, particularly in the passenger market, which Airbus expects to generate $3.7 trillion of the total demand. If Airbus is right, total revenues for both companies will nearly double in the 20-year period.

The company expects passenger traffic to grow at an annual average rate of 4.7%, with more than half the growth coming from emerging economic regions. The passenger fleet will grow from more than 15,550 today to more than 32,500 in 2031. Here are a few other prognostications:

  • The number of global megacities (population more than 10 million) will more than double to 92 and will be at one or another end of a journey for more than 90% of international air traffic.
  • International traffic aside, four of the largest traffic flows will be domestic — the United States, China, Western Europe and India — and will account for a third of all world traffic.
  • China’s domestic traffic will be the largest in the world, overtaking the United States.
  • Asia-Pacific will take 35% of the new aircraft, with Europe and the U.S. each taking 21%.
  • By 2031, more than 1,700 of the largest aircraft — the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 747 — will have been delivered, most to meet passenger demand.
  • Demand for twin-aisle airplanes — the Airbus A330 and 350 and the Boeing 777 and 787 — will increase to nearly 7,000 planes, again mostly for the passenger market.
  • By 2031, deliveries of new single-aisle planes — the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 — will top 19,500, with most going to Asia-Pacific.

A presentation and the full report are available here.

Paul Ausick

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