Airbus has published findings suggesting that the world’s passenger and freight fleet is set to more than double over the coming two decades. The conclusions are contained within its Global Market Forecast (GMF), with the report stating that the number of commercial aircraft will rise from nearly 23,000 today to almost 47,680 by 2038.
It further estimates that on top of the 8,470 examples already in service today, a further 39,210 will need to be built. As part of the project, Airbus has simplified the segmentation of its product portfolio, breaking it down into ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ aircraft. This ranges from a short haul A321 (small), while the long-haul A321LR or XLR is categorised as medium. The company states that while the core market for the A330 is primarily classified as medium it is “likely a number will continue to be operated by airlines in a way that sits within the large market segmentation along with the A350 XWB”. Translating these new groupings into its forecast, the European aerospace giant predicts that of the new aircraft being built, 29,720 will be in the small category, 5,370 medium and 4,120 large.
As for the actual number of aircraft taking to the skies, the GMF suggests annual growth of 4.3% – continuing a longer-term trend which has seen global air traffic double since 2000. To cope with the rapid expansion, the firm predicts that there will also be a need for 550,000 new pilots and 640,000 new technicians – placing further pressure on an industry which is already struggling with a global skills shortage.
Speaking at the launch of the 2019 GMF, Christian Scherer, Airbus CCO and Head of Airbus International commented: “The 4% annual growth reflects the resilient nature of aviation, weathering short term economic shocks and geo-political disturbances. Economies thrive on air transportation. People and goods want to connect.Globally, commercial aviation stimulates GDP growth and supports 65 million livelihoods, demonstrating the immense benefits our business brings to all societies and global trade.”
On the topic of sustainability, the company states: “By updating fleets with latest generation fuel efficient aircraft such as the A220, A320neo Family, the A330neo and the A350, Airbus believes the aviation sector can progressively decarbonise to achieve carbon neutral growth targets while connecting more people globally.”