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Asia predicted to be large air transport market

March 8, 2011 – Hong Kong – Asia's rapidly growing middle classes will drive demand for new airplanes over the next 20 years and help the region overtake North America and Europe as the world's biggest air transport market, Airbus SAS said Monday.


March 8, 2011
By Melissa Damota

March 8, 2011 – Hong Kong – Asia's rapidly growing middle classes will drive
demand for new airplanes over the next 20 years and help the region
overtake North America and Europe as the world's biggest air
transport market, Airbus SAS said Monday.

The European plane maker forecasts that the Asia Pacific area
will account for a third of global passenger aircraft deliveries
over the next two decades, up from about a quarter in the previous
20 years.

Some 8,560 new passenger jets worth $1.2 trillion will be
delivered in Asia by 2029, Airbus said. That number includes 3,360
large double-aisle aircraft, including superjumbo models such as the
A380, as well as 5,200 smaller, single-aisle jets. About 25,850 new
jets are forecast to be delivered worldwide in the same period.

The growth of megacities in Asia will require more large planes
to service routes between those hubs, said Christopher Emerson,
Airbus's senior vice-president of product strategy and market
forecast.

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Smaller jets will also be needed to fill demand from increasingly
popular budget airlines, as well as new short-haul routes.

“If you look at the main drivers of tomorrow's traffic _ so for
the next 20 years _ in Asia (it's) more people able and wanting to
fly everyday,'' Emerson said.

Airlines will also be looking to replace older, gas-guzzling
planes with newer, less thirsty models, he said. About 3,680
aircraft are currently in service in Asia, and Airbus expects about
78 per cent of those will be replaced.

Airbus is aiming to maintain its global market share of about 50
per cent, although that task is growing harder with increased
competition from the likes of Canada's Bombardier Inc., Brazil's
Embraer SA and China's state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation
of China Ltd., or Comac, Emerson said.

Asian airlines will see passenger numbers grow by 5.8 per cent a
year while cargo traffic will rise 7 per cent annually, Airbus said.
Both numbers are above the global average.

Airbus's forecast follows a rosy outlook last month by airline
group IATA, which said that global airline travel will surge, with
China being the fastest growing market for international passengers.

The International Air Transport Association said in February that
Asia will likely account for 45 per cent of the 800 million increase
in air travellers that is expected between 2009 and 2014.

Comac has forecast that China will purchase 4,439 planes worth
more than $456 billion by 2029, underscoring arguments that China's
aircraft market is big enough to welcome new competitors.