The recent global financial recession notwithstanding, long-term airline traffic growth will average 4.7 percent per year, while cargo traffic grows at a slightly higher annual rate, 4.8 percent, according to the latest 20-year market forecast published by Airbus. However, the company projected a marked disparity between traffic growth in “advanced” and “emerging” markets. COO for customers John Leahy noted a divergence in gross domestic product trends between the groups since 2000. Up to the turn of the millennium, GDP growth in mature economies kept in step with that in the developing world before North America and Europe faltered in the first half of the past decade to create a “two-speed world.” But all economies collapsed after 2007, during which period emerging economies had seen slower growth, according to the Airbus executive.
Published last week, the forecast shows passenger traffic among emerging economies–identified as Asia, Africa, China, the CIS, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America–growing at 6.8 percent and accounting for more than 40 percent of passenger traffic by 2032. Meanwhile, traffic between those markets and advanced economies–comprising Japan, North America and Western Europe–will expand at a 4.9-percent annual rate to account for 30 percent of global traffic by 2032.
By then, passenger aircraft carrying 100 seats or more and freighters carrying more than 10 metric tons will number 36,556–more than double today’s 17,739 aircraft, according to the report. Single-aisle passenger designs represent the largest element (20,242 deliveries) in the predicted 20-year demand for 29,226 new machines, ahead of twin-aisle aircraft (7,273, including 494 freighters), and very large aircraft such as the A380 and 747-8 (1,711). Airbus values predicted future deliveries at $4.4 trillion at current catalogue prices.
Even though emerging markets now represent key market drivers, advanced economies remain prevalent and will account for approximately 60 percent of all traffic in 2032, primarily in Europe and North America, according to Airbus. It sees Middle East airline traffic growing at the highest rate (7.1 percent per year) to account for 12 percent of all 2032 traffic. Airbus analysts conclude that the three largest regions by airline domicile will remain Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, accounting for 34 percent, 22 percent and 18 percent of global traffic, respectively, in 2032.
Due to the growth in Asia-Pacific traffic, Airbus expressed “no surprise” that the region will require 47 percent of new very large aircraft. “It is equally important to note that more than 40 percent of new aircraft deliveries [with] over 100 seats will be within North America and Europe,” said the report.