Singapore Airshow 2018: Over 14,000 new aircraft needed in Asia-Pacific over next 20 years, says Airbus

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The world's largest planemakers signalled a possible increase in output of their most popular passenger jets on Tuesday, highlighting their confidence about growth in demand for air travel.
The Airbus A350-1000, a twin-aisle, widebody jetliner at the Singapore Airshow 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The Asia-Pacific will need about 14,450 new planes valued at US$2.3 trillion over the next two decades as passenger traffic in the region is set to triple, Airbus projects.

With passenger traffic slated to expand at 5.6 per cent annually, outstripping the global average of 4.4 per cent, the Asia-Pacific fleet will grow from 6,100 planes today to nearly 17,000 in 20 years.

The new orders from the region will account for roughly 40 per cent of global demand. Of the 14,450 planes, the European aircraft maker estimates that 9,800 will be in the single aisle category, while there will be demand for 4,000 widebodies and 650 very large aircraft.

"There is no doubt that Asia-Pacific is a core market for Airbus," said Eric Schulz, Airbus' new executive VP for sales, marketing and contracts. "With traffic tripling over the next 20 years, and some of the highest growth rates, the Asia-Pacific region will by far be the world's largest aviation market."

Mr Schulz, a former Rolls-Royce executive, took over from veteran salesman John Leahy in January.

Emirates' recent order for 20 A380s with an option for 16 more - seen as a lifeline for the jumbo jet programme - will stabilise production for the A380, Mr Schulz told reporters at a briefing at the Singapore Airshow. He also said that the European plane-maker is considering increasing the production rate for its in-demand single-aisle products, but added that no decision had been made as yet.

Last year, Airbus delivered 367 new planes to 50 operators in the Asia-Pacific last year, which was more than half the aircraft it delivered worldwide.

The European planemaker's total backlog for this region stands at over 2,000 - or a third of its total backlog. According to Airbus, it pipped rival Boeing to win 65 per cent of the new orders from this region last year, with 100 new aircraft orders.

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