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OEM giants see bright Asian future

: Mar 12, 2011 - : 11:09 pm

Airbus and Boeing both gave detailed forecasts for the Asia Pacific region at Asian Aerospace this week – and both see it coming it at around a third of mainline deliveries for the next two decades.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the region’s air traffic growth is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.8 percent over the next 20 years, compared to the world average of 5.3 percent.

“Asia Pacific will account for one-third (10,320) of new airplane deliveries worldwide over the period,” Tinseth said. “This demand is driven by the fact that Asia Pacific will account for 44 percent of travel in 20 years’ time, up from around 34 percent today.”

“China’s air travel growth is even more dramatic, with a 7.6 percent increase over the next two decades,” he added. “This is sweet music to an airplane manufacturer’s ears.”
The rosy outlook is not limited to growth in passenger service. World air cargo traffic will triple over the next 20 years, according to Jim Edgar, regional director of Cargo Marketing for Boeing.

“From now through 2029, we expect world air cargo traffic to grow at an annual rate of 5.9 percent,” Edgar said. “Asia will continue to be at the forefront of the air cargo industry. Routes associated with Asia will continue to experience the world’s highest growth rates over the next 20 years, at 6.8 percent.”

On a possible 737NG successor, Tinseth said “We’re spending a lot of time with our customers to understand their needs and preferences for an airplane that will serve the single-aisle market for the next 50 years.”

While the company hasn’t made a decision on whether it will put a new engine on the 737 or instead develop a successor to the popular plane, Tinseth said customers would like to know what could be done with a new airplane in terms of size, fuel efficiency and reduced carbon footprint and maintenance costs. “So that’s where our focus is right now.” Tinseth said if Boeing decides to build a new airplane, it likely would enter into service near the end of the decade. “We are taking our time making this decision, analyzing all the technological data as well as what customers want,” Tinseth said. “We could make an announcement as early this summer.”

Airbus, meanwhile, expects Asia-Pacific airlines to take delivery of around 8,560 new aircraft over the next 20 years. Valued at US$1.2 trillion, the requirement represents 33 per cent of new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the forecast period, with the region overtaking North America and Europe as the largest air transport market.

The latest forecast for the region was presented in Hong Kong today by Chris Emerson, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Market Forecast.The Airbus forecast is based on stronger than average growth in both passenger and freight traffic in the region, combined with replacement of many of the existing aircraft in service. In terms of growth, Airbus expects the number of passengers carried by Asia-Pacific airlines to rise by 5.8 per cent per year while the amount of freight passing through the region will increase by 7.0 per cent annually. This compares with global average increases of 4.8 per cent in the passenger market and 5.9 per cent for cargo. At the same time, carriers in the region are expected to replace 78 per cent of the 3,680 aircraft currently in service.

Airbus reiterated its prediction that the region will continue to drive demand for larger aircraft types, due to the concentration of populations in the region around the main urban centres and the need for more seats between fast-growing mega-cities. The OEM predicts carriers in the region will acquire around 3,360 new widebody aircraft over the next two decades. This represents 40 per cent of all widebody deliveries worldwide and includes some 780 very large aircraft such as the A380 and around 2,580 twin aisle widebodies such as the A330 and new A350 XWB.

Airbus expects demand for single aisle aircraft in the region is expected to accelerate in the coming years, with a requirement for some 5,200 new airliners in the 100 – 210 seat story_category.

In the cargo sector, Airbus says the region will continue to dominate the global market, with the dedicated freighter fleet operated by Asia-Pacific airlines growing almost four times to 1,056 aircraft. While many of these will be converted from passenger models, Airbus predicts that around 270 new production freighters will be delivered to the region over the next two decades. This represents over 30 per cent of expected global demand for new production freighters.

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