Embraer confident about future of air-transport industry

 - November 10, 2008, 8:59 AM

“World air travel should grow [at] five percent per year between 2009 to 2028,” according to forecast data released last week by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. The highest growth will be in China, estimated at more than 7.5 percent per year, followed by Latin America and Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States each at 6 percent. Close behind will be Asia/Pacific and Africa at around 5 percent, with the dominant Europe and North America regions (together accounting for almost 60 percent of the market) growing at 4 percent, according to the company’s forecast.

Embraer said Friday it sees demand valued at $220 billion for 6,750 jets with capacity for 30 to 120 passengers between next year and 2028. The majority of these aircraft–62.3 percent, or 3,800 units–will be required after 2018. The manufacturer reflects the forecasts of large-airplane suppliers Airbus and Boeing that average aircraft size will increase over the next 20 years.

“The 30- to 60-seat capacity segment will be under pressure,” according to the company. It believes that, over the next five years, this sector will suffer as operators–particularly in North America–are hit by the economic crisis and fuel prices, which will force airlines to review their strategies. New jets accommodating 61 to 120 passengers should help airlines match capacity to traffic by rightsizing on “thin” routes, replace older fleets, open new routes and increase frequencies on high-demand routes operated by smaller jets. Embraer said more than 700 aircraft with 30 to 120 seats are more than 20 years old and “should soon be replaced, [with] significant environmental benefits.”

The manufacturer’s full 20-year market outlook will be published online in January. Embraer has confirmed that, while initiatives for joint ventures or new products could arise later, “at the present time” it is not looking to join with other companies and has no large-airplane project.