Airbus increases 20-year jet demand forecast

Airbus increases 20-year jet demand forecast

PARIS - Reuters
Airbus increases 20-year jet demand forecast

An Airbus A380, the world's largest jetliner, is seen on the tarmac at Le Bourget airport one day before the opening of the 51st Paris Air Show, June 14, 2015. Reuters Photo

Planemaker Airbus increased its 20-year forecast for jet demand by nearly 4 percent on June 15, driven by growth in emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region and China.

Airbus sees demand for 32,600 new planes worth nearly $5 trillion, up from a previous forecast in September for 31,358 planes worth $4.6 trillion, it said at the Paris Airshow.

“Asia-Pacific will lead in world traffic by 2034 and China will be the world’s biggest aviation market within 10 years, and clearly Asia and emerging markets are the catalyst for strong air traffic growth,” Airbus sales chief John Leahy said in a statement.

However, the European firm slightly trimmed its forecast for global passenger growth, predicting an annual average rate of 4.6 percent over the next 20 years, compared with last year’s forecast for 4.7 percent.

Last week, U.S. rival Boeing similarly raised its long-term forecast for aircraft demand while trimming its prediction for traffic growth.

Airbus increased its forecast for single-aisle jets to nearly 23,000, compared with a previous figure for 22,071 and said it expected demand for around 9,600 new wide-body planes and freighters.

It did not break down the figures for the wide-body category into twin-aisle and very large aircraft. Last week, Boeing cut its forecast for very large aircraft -- planes with four-engines and including Airbus’ A380 superjumbo, which is struggling for sales -- to 540 from 620 a year ago.

Airbus planemaking chief Fabrice Bregier said on Friday that Airbus broadly saw demand of “double” that figure, though that is lower than the 1,501 aircraft Airbus forecast a year ago.

Bregier said Boeing’s decision to cut its forecast implied it was giving up on its 747-8, which has also been suffering slow sales. But Boeing officials at the air show said there was good demand for 747-8 freighters due to a pick-up in the cargo market.

The focus at this year’s Paris show, which runs from June 15-21 is on the supply chain and how the industry can cope with ramping up aircraft production to meet record backlogs.

Airbus plans to increase production of its best-selling A320 single-aisle planes to 50 a month from the first quarter of 2017 and confirmed on Monday it was studying an increase beyond that.

Boeing is planning to move to a rate of 52 a month for its 737 jet in 2018.