* Airbus lifts jet demand forecast by 3.6 pct
* $4.4 trillion of jetliners/freighters needed over 20 yrs
By Brenda Goh and Tim Hepher
LONDON, Sept 24 Airbus raised its
long-term jet demand forecast on Tuesday, saying the world would
need to double its fleet as cities expand and Asia's
increasingly affluent middle class takes to the skies.
The European planemaker said airlines, lessors and cargo
operators would need a total of 29,226 new passenger and
freighter jets worth $4.4 trillion over the next 20 years.
Its latest forecast includes 28,355 passenger jets, up 3.7
percent from its previous estimate a year ago, and 871
freighters, up 1.6 percent.
The world's second largest planemaker behind rival Boeing
insisted urban population growth would help drive demand
for its flagship A380 superjumbo, but acknowledged that recently
weak sales had left a "couple" of open slots in 2015 production.
Sales chief John Leahy said he would announce some new plane
orders on Wednesday in China, the world's fastest growing
aviation market, which is set to leapfrog the United States as
an aviation market.
"In 20 years the number one market will not be the U.S., the
number one market is internally within China," Leahy told a news
One in four people from China travelled by plane last year;
that number will rise to virtually the whole active population
in the next two decades, he said.
Asia's economic performance, and the projected emergence of
three billion new middle class consumers globally with some
disposable income, are the main ingredients of higher demand
forecasts from both Airbus and rival Boeing in recent months.
In June, Boeing revised up its own 20-year market demand
forecast by 3.8 percent as the industry looks beyond the
Both planemakers anticipate a surge in Asian travel that is
expected to keep production at their factories rising.
"The fact is when people get money they want to fly," Leahy
But worries over the short-term picture for emerging markets
prompted the International Air Transport Association, which
represents some 240 airlines, to shave its forecast for 2013
airline profits on Tuesday.
Airbus hiked its forecast for demand for long-distance
twin-engined passenger jets such as the upcoming Airbus A350 and
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner by 4.3 percent to 6,779 aircraft.
The forecast for short- and medium-haul jets like the Airbus
A320 and Boeing 737, which dominate production by the world's
largest planemakers, was lifted by 3.7 percent to 20,242 jets.
But amid recently slow sales of its 525-seat A380 superjumbo
and Boeing's 747, Airbus kept its forecast for the world's
largest jetliners flat at 1,334 aircraft.
Boeing is significantly less optimistic on demand for the
industry's four-engined mammoths, saying powerful twinjets such
as its soon-to-be-revamped 777 have displaced many of them.
Airbus says urban growth will support superjumbo sales.
Lifestyle changes around the world have helped brighten
prospects for planemakers, even though many of their customers
are struggling to cope with higher fuel costs.
Bob Lange, head of market and product strategy, said the
number of people studying abroad had more than doubled since
2000 and the number of trips by migrant workers to families and
friends was now a significant part of gauging total air demand.