Airbus plans to deliver 39,490 new aircraft over the next 20 years

In its 2022 Global Market Forecast, Airbus predicts demand for 39,490 new passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 20 years. The forecast for 2022 is 470 planes compared to last year, which Airbus attributes to increased demand for the latest technology and fuel-efficient planes to replace older planes. The forecast is also positively affected by 2021, an extremely weak year for aviation, coming out of the 20-year forecast period.

This year, Airbus has changed the way it characterizes aircraft types, not just naming their category by size. Airbus now has only two classifications, “typically single-aisle” and “typically widebody”. This reflects how single-aisle aircraft are used on formerly wide-body routes and wide-body aircraft deployed on short-haul services. Of the 39,490 aircraft planned by Airbus that will be needed between 2022 and 2041, 31,620 or 80% will typically be single-aisle and 7,870 will typically be widebody.


In its global market forecast (GMF22), Airbus includes passenger aircraft with more than 100 seats and freighters with a payload of more than ten tons (22,046 pounds). At the start of 2020, Airbus says there were 22,880 planes in service, and 7,440 of them, or 33%, will still be in service in 2041. This includes planes delivered in 2020 and 2021. That leaves 15,440 at replace, with the growth market demanding the addition of 24,050 more aircraft to the global fleet, more than doubling it to just under 47,000 by 2041.

China must reopen to meet 2041 forecast

The highest demand will come from Asia-Pacific and China, with 45% of global aircraft deliveries combined. On a regional basis, deliveries generally follow the 80/20 split, with the exception of the Middle East, where jumbo jets are slightly ahead with a 51% share.

The 20-year forecast is based on certain assumptions about how the future will unfold. Airbus expects global annual passenger traffic to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6% from 2019 to 2041, down slightly from the 3.9% it forecast last year. last year. In 2019, Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) was close to 10 trillion, and it will reach 20 trillion by 2041. The largest traffic flows will be in the Chinese domestic market, followed by the US domestic market, from Western Europe to the United States and from the intra-west. European markets. The fastest growth will come from domestic travel in India and emerging Asia.

Airbus also believes there will be increasing pressure for next-generation aircraft to replace older types, both from an economic and sustainability perspective. It refers to next-generation aircraft as its A220, A320neo family, A330neo, A350 and A380 aircraft. It also includes the Boeing B737 MAX, B777X, B787 and all new programs on the list. In 2021, Airbus says only 20% of the global fleet was next-generation aircraft, but that will rise to over 95% by 2041, driven by pressure to decarbonize aviation in the short to medium term.

Will the new generation still be new in 2041?

Next-generation fuel-efficient aircraft like the Airbus A350 will make up 95% of the global fleet by 2041. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Despite the current state of global affairs, global trade is expected to double over the next 20 years, driven by the rapid growth of the express e-commerce market. The global freighter fleet will grow from 2,030 in 2020 to 3,070 in 2041, with demand for 2,440 new or converted freighters. Airbus has three categories of freighters: single-aisle with a payload of between 10 t and 40 t, medium-sized jumbo jets from 40 t to 80 t and jumbo jets with a payload of more than 80 t. It says there will be demand for 990 single-aisle, 890 medium and 560 large freighters between 2022 and 2041.

Given the state of commercial aviation today, the idea of ​​twice as many planes in the sky seems nearly impossible to comprehend. The ramifications for airports, air traffic control, SAF production, pilot, cabin crew and technician training, to name a few, are staggering.

Equally important is the social license that aviation needs for its survival, with some governments already mandating when and where airlines can fly. Documents like this, and others like it produced by Boeing and Embraer, show where the industry is headed, but not necessarily how to get there. What do you think of the doubling of the commercial fleet?

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