Almost 10,000 new aircraft will be needed to meet growth in world air travel in the next 20 years, according to Airbus Industries.
Sounding a bullish note at the Paris Airshow, Airbus said that demand for air travel will grow from the present level of just over three trillion `revenue passenger kilometres’ to almost eight trillion in 2018.
As a result, the global airliner industry would be worth a massive $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years.
Unveiling its global market forecast, Airbus said air travel would grow by an average of just under 5% per year. This means that 9,993 new aircraft would be needed to meet this greater level of demand, said Airbus marketing vice-president John Leahy. And new aircraft sales would have a value of $65bn per year, he added.
Despite the economic crisis in Asia, the Asia-Pacific airlines will lead the way in aircraft size growth, Airbus said, justifying the case for an aircraft the size of the 500-600-seater A3XX mega-jumbo project, which Airbus hopes to launch at the turn of the year. The French government has announced £20m backing for the project.
Although rival Boeing has said it does not believe such an aircraft would be a success, Leahy claimed that Boeing’s attitude had `come closer to our view’.
Airbus managing director Noel Forgeard said the consortium can still export aircraft if it does not become a single corporate entity (SCE) this year, as originally planned.
Forgeard also believes the launch of the A3XX does not depend on the formation of an SCE to replace the present loose consortium, but it would help Airbus attract more risk-sharing partners.