Airbus has offered a rosier future for worldwide jet deliveries, given the China aviation sector’s likely demand between now and 2040.
The European planemaker said the middle class should grow by 2 billion people to 63% of the world’s population, and the fastest traffic growth will be in Asia, with domestic flights in China becoming the largest market.
Airbus this week revised up its forecast to 39,490 jets delivered over the next 20 years, up from 39,020 forecast previously.
Soaring fuel bills will prompt airlines to speed up taking delivery of new, more fuel-efficient planes, the company said.
Airbus this month confirmed orders with China aviation giants Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Shenzhen Airlines for a total of 292 A320 family aircraft.
Recovery Momentum in Chinese Aviation
“This demonstrates the positive recovery momentum and prosperous outlook for the Chinese aviation market,” Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer said.
“These new orders demonstrate … a solid endorsement from our airline customers in China of the performance, quality, fuel efficiency and sustainability [of the A320 family],” he added.
Despite the war in Ukraine and a spike in inflation, Airbus edged up its average forecast for annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 2.6% from 2.5% in its latest 20-year outlook.
But it saw passenger traffic growing more slowly than before, by 3.6% a year rather than 3.9% forecast in November.
That’s partly the result of higher energy and carbon prices that push up fares and which Airbus now builds into forecasts, citing regional disparities in the cost of sustainable fuels.
But it believes a spike in energy costs will also encourage many airlines to accelerate deliveries of fuel-saving models.
Airbus is also pushing its wide-bodied A350 jet to the China aviation sector. Last year, China Eastern took delivery of the first A350 assembled at Airbus’s Tianjin facility.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell