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Airbus: Global Growth Spurs Demand for Fuel-Efficient Aircraft

Airbus forecasts that global passenger traffic will grow at an average annual rate of 4.7 percent in the next 20 years, during which some 10,350 aircraft will be replaced by new fuel efficient models.

Airbus’ latest global market forecast identifies the need for 28,200 passenger and freighter aircraft of 100 seats or more between 2012 and 2031 — an estimated $4 trillion worth of orders—due to demand driven by by emerging economic regions, increasing urbanization and the doubling of the world’s middle class.

While emerging regions, such as Asia and South America, will represent more than half of all traffic growth in the next two decades, mature markets also will experience increased passenger traffic, Airbus said. By 2031, more than 60 percent of all traffic will involve the advanced aviation markets, primarily North America and Europe.

This growth, combined with the need to replace older, less efficient aircraft, will result in 42 percent of all aircraft larger than 100 seats being delivered to airlines in North America and Europe, Airbus said.

Today, North American carriers have one of the oldest fleets in service of any region, Airbus said. On average, the fleet is 11 years old, with only Africa’s fleet older. In the past year, Airbus has seen North American carriers begin to replace older aircraft.

Despite a 53 percent rise in traffic and a 41 percent jump in capacity since 2000, jet fuel demand has increased just 3 percent over the same time period largely due to improved load factors and operational efficiencies through the use of larger aircraft, Airbus said.

Airbus, aiming to capitalize on global demand and growth in domestic markets, has developed the A32neo, a narrow body plane designed to increase annual fuel savings of 15 percent, the equivalent of reducing 3,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

China agreed last month to buy 50 Airbus planes worth up to $4 billion, in a deal primarily comprising short-range jets. The purchased planes include the A320neo, a fuel efficient aircraft expected to enter into service from 2015.

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