The number of aircraft plying the world’s skies will more than double to 48,000 over the next two decades, Europe’s largest aerospace company, Airbus, has announced in its Global Market Forecast 2018-2037.
That increase will come as airlines around the world spend $5.8 trillion in buying new aircraft to cater to the burgeoning demand for air travel, according to the report.
A 240% increase in private consumption in emerging economies, as well as higher disposable income, is expected to propel the majority of demand; emerging economies will account for more than 60% of the expected boom in air travel with trips per capita to multiply 2.5 times for these nations.
In the UAE, arguably Airbus’s most important market for aircraft sales, the plane manufacturer estimates trips per capita to increase to 6.02 per person per year by 2037 from 2.58 in 2017 as GDP per capita grows by nearly 60% during the same period.
In Saudi Arabia, Airbus estimates trips per capita to nearly double to 2.01 over the next two decades.
Despite turbulence continuing to threaten a shaky global recovery, evolving airline business models and continuing liberalisation will allow the growing scale of air transportation to build its resilience to regional slowdowns, Airbus predicts in the report.
"Greater aircraft range and capacity through technological developments allow airlines the flexibility to explore new business opportunities whilst maintaining focus on cost reduction," the report reads.
Of the 37,390 new aircraft required, 26,540 are for growth and 10,850 will replace older generation less fuel-efficient aircraft. The more than doubling in the world fleet to 48,000 aircraft results in a need for 540,000 new pilots.
Airbus estimates the Middle East will take in 2,825 additional passenger aircraft in 20 years at a cost of $682 billion. It also expects demand for 54 freighter aeroplanes at a cost of $17 billion.
Airbus’ assertion is supported by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) latest report which recorded Middle East carrier traffic growing by 10.7% in March owing to strong demand for flights to Asia.
IATA has previously estimated that South East Asia will be the biggest market for air travel demand growth over the next decade, while flights between the UAE and India will make for the world’s most trafficked air routes by 2030.
Source: Arabian Business