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Airbus Sees $4.4 Trillion Commercial Jet Market Over 20 Years

Airbus SAS, the European maker of commercial aircraft, predicted airlines will buy planes valued at $4.4 trillion in the next two decades, driven by demand in India and China and global growth among low-fare airlines.

Airlines will buy 29,220 planes to satisfy 4.7 percent in annual traffic growth, Airbus said in its annual industry-wide forecast today. The prediction, which includes 28,350 passenger jets, is 3.6 percent higher than a year earlier.

Airbus, based in Toulouse in southern France, fell behind Boeing Co. last year in deliveries after leading the industry every year since 2003. Both manufacturers are headed for record shipments this year, with output for several aircraft types at a peak as airlines from Asia to North America seek newer, more fuel-efficient jets to cut costs.

“By 2032, Asia-Pacific will lead the world in traffic, overtaking Europe and North America,” John Leahy, Airbus’s chief salesman, said in a statement. “Today on average, a fifth of the population of the emerging markets take a flight annually and by 2032 this will swell to two thirds.”

The global fleet will grow to 36,560 aircraft from 17,740 by 2032, Airbus said. The total, which includes replacement of 10,400 existing passenger jets, compares with competitor Boeing’s forecast for 35,280 planes valued at $4.8 trillion, including 2,020 regional jets that Airbus does not count.

Some 36 percent of new passenger planes will go to the Asia-Pacific region, with Europe taking 20 percent of planes ahead of North America, which will be home to 19 percent of forecast deliveries.

Indian Growth

The highest growth rate will be in India where domestic air travel is set to advance almost 10 percent, with China and Brazil due to see increases of about 7 percent, Airbus said.

Airbus raised its single-aisle forecast 3.8 percent to 20,242 planes. Those jets will make up 71 percent of deliveries, as low-fare carriers increase their share of traffic to 21 percent from 17 percent over the period.

Twin-aisle models, excluding the largest four-engine versions, will constitute 23 percent of passenger jet handovers, Airbus predicted. The European aircraftmaker sees more expensive wide-body aircraft equaling the size of the single-aisle market by value, with both at $1.8 trillion.

Airbus, which flew its new A350 in June as it continues to sell A330s, raised its wide-body forecast 4.3 percent where it competes with Boeing’s popular 777 and the 787 Dreamliner.

One area where the two dominant planemakers continue to differ is in the forecast for very large aircraft. Airbus predicted that passenger aircraft demand in the segment will top 1,334 units, four aircraft more than last forecast year, or $519 billion in value, whereas Boeing estimates less than half that amount, at 760 units, including dedicated freighters.

Airbus, which offers the A380 double-decker in competition to Boeing’s 747-8, still has to book its first sale this year after securing agreements from Deutsche Lufthansa AG and leasing company Doric to buy the plane.

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