Airbus Industries, the European consortium, has predicted that some 25,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at $3.1 trillion will be delivered from 2009 to 2028. According to Airbus’ latest global market forecast emerging economies, evolving airline networks, expansion of low cost carriers and the increasing number of mega-cities as well as traffic growth and the replacement of older less efficient aircraft with more eco-efficient airliners are factors driving demand for new aircraft.

Larger aircraft in all size categories are required to help ease aircraft congestion and to accommodate growth on existing routes and to achieve more with less. Compared to timescales for aircraft investment and fleet turnover, economic down cycles are relatively short and a strong underlying demand for air travel will drive growth.

In 2009, a decline in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) of two per cent is expected to be followed by a rise of 4.6 per cent in 2010.

The forecast anticipates that in the next 20 years, passenger traffic RPKs will remain resilient to the cyclical effects of the sector and increase by 4.7 per cent a year or double in the next 15 years. This will require a demand for almost 24,100 new passenger aircraft valued at $2.9 trillion. With the replacement of some 10,000 older passenger aircraft, the world’s passenger aircraft fleet of 100 seats or more will double from some 14,000 today. Airfreight tonne kilometres (FTKs) is forecast to increase annually by 5.2 per cent.

Combined with fleet renewal, this creates a demand for some 3,440 freighters. More than 850 of these are new aircraft valued at $210 billion, with the remainder converted from passenger aircraft.

“Air transportation is a growth industry, and an essential ingredient in the world economy,” says Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy. “Technology and innovation are key drivers for an eco-efficient aviation sector, and Airbus is at the forefront of both.”

Aviation also benefits individuals in every region of the world, with the number growing as aviation prospers. Oxford Economics predicts that in 20 years, air transport will directly employ 8.5 million people worldwide and contribute $1 trillion annually to world GDP.

Tourism and indirect benefits are even bigger.

The greatest demand for passenger aircraft will be from airlines in Asia-Pacific and emerging markets.

The region that includes China and India accounts for 31 per cent of the total, followed by Europe at 25 per cent and North America at 23 per cent.

In terms of domestic passenger markets, India at 10 per cent and China (7.9 per cent) will have the fastest growth over the next 20 years.

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