CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited
Global market forecast Asia-Pacific
Global market forecast – Asia-Pacific
Keywords: Airbus, Airlines, Air transport, Asia
Asia-Pacific airlines will lead world demand for aircraft in the largest size categories over the next 20 years, taking delivery of 42 per cent of all airliners with more than 300 seats, according to Airbus' latest market forecast for the region. These include some 1,000 aircraft with between 300 and 400 seats, and over 700 airliners with more than 400 seats, more than half of all deliveries during the period of aircraft such as the all-new A3XX.
Passenger traffic within and through the region will reportedly continue to grow at around 6.1 per cent per year – much higher than the world average of 4.9 per cent. This could see the number of airline seats required by Asia-Pacific carriers more than triple, to 1.2 million by the end of 2019.
In order to meet such demand, the average size of aircraft in service with Asia-Pacific carriers is expected to grow from today's level of 231 – already larger than the world average in 20 years' time – to 283 by the end of the forecast period. Unlike North America and Europe, the bulk of Asian populations tends to be located near the main capital cities and this concentration of demand, combined with the limited number of available take-off and landing slots at congested airports, will continue to drive up the size of in-service aircraft.
According to Airbus, in the largest category the requirement for 700 aircraft will meet growth on key long haul routes to Europe and the USA, as well as on the most heavily travelled regional services and some domestic sectors. Of the top ten routes to be operated by very large aircraft by 2019, eight will serve the Asia-Pacific region, with high traffic flows from Tokyo, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.
Indeed, Airbus informs us that Tokyo will be one of the first cities in the world to see the operation of new very large aircraft, with the first three airlines to have signed up for the A3XX all including Narita as one of the initial destinations to be served by the type. Japanese carriers alone are expected to take delivery of some 180 very large passenger aircraft – the biggest requirement of any country in the world for airliners in the above 400 seat category – over the next 20 years. Tokyo's international airport will reportedly become the biggest user of such aircraft, with combined flights of Japanese and foreign carriers through Narita accounting for the capacity of 116 aircraft of this size by 2019.
According to the forecast, demand for an aircraft larger than anything flying today will increase progressively from the second half of this decade, with almost 200 very large aircraft entering service with the airlines of the region by the end of 2009 and 500 more between 2010 and 2019.
In the 300-400 seat category, the Asia-Pacific requirement for 1,000 new aircraft represents 36 per cent of world demand for airliners such as the larger models of the A330/A340 family. These include the new, super long range A340-500, which will be able to fly non-stop from South East Asia to the USA, or from cities such as Hong Kong or Taipei to the North American East coast.
The Airbus forecast anticipates the simultaneous development of both "hub and spoke" and point-to-point services. The company considers that aircraft such as the A3XX and the A340 will complement each other, with the A3XX flying on routes with the highest demand and the A340 enabling non-stop services to secondary destinations. However, the number of direct services will necessarily be dependent on sufficient passenger demand, with most Asian traffic still being generated by the population centres near the main international gateways.
In other market sectors, Airbus predicts a significant need in the region for widebody aircraft in the 200-250 seat segment, with a requirement for some 750 units over the 20-year period. This will include over 350 units to replace older A300/A310 and B767 fleets, with Airbus well placed to meet demand with the smaller versions of its popular A330.
While the Asia-Pacific region will remain a predominantly widebody market, airlines in the region will also take delivery of some 1,600 single aisle aircraft with between 100 and 200 seats. Driven largely by the needs of domestic operators in mainland China, this however represents just 15 per cent of total world demand for single aisle aircraft with more than 100 seats, with the North American carriers driving this market segment.
Airbus also foresees a big future for dedicated freighters in the region, with cargo traffic continuing to grow faster than anywhere else in the world – at around 6.6 per cent per year. As a result, the number of freighters in service will reportedly triple to around 340 by 2019. Excluding passenger-to-freight conversions, this will create a market for almost 150 new all-cargo aircraft, including 135 units in the above 80 tonnes category, such as the A3XX freighter.
Altogether, Airbus estimates the total value of the market for new aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region, including freighters, at some US$490 billion, representing 38 per cent of all potential business worldwide in terms of dollar value.