Airbus Forecast: $3.1 Trillion In Airliners Over 20 Years

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Airbus, presently the world's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft, sees airlines picking up some 25,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, to the tune of $3.1 trillion. That's up 3 percent from the company's February 2008 forecast. The company expects Asia to firm up demand for single-aisle and other aircraft, accounting for as much as 31 percent of new aircraft. That, as the airline industry comes out of an industry-wide loss year that could amount to as much as $11 billion for airlines if forecasts by the International Air Transport Association hold true. Airbus nonetheless hopes to carry about 300 orders for 2009 and predicts passenger growth in 2010, up 4.6 percent from a 2-percent decline in 2009 and continuing with 4.7 percent increases on average. That means, in the Airbus forecast, that traffic would double within 15 years. Carriers are considered likely to demand more fuel-efficient aircraft, replacing older models while increasing access to cities worldwide. Boeing's latest predictions don't altogether carry the same tune, and offer a less optimistic look at the near term but carry on to a similar end.

Boeing sees demand for some 29,000 aircraft worth $3.2 trillion over the next two decades, which is larger than Airbus' forecast of 25,000 at $3.1 trillion. However, Boeing does not expect the near term to look quite as rosy. Boeing's forecast predicts traffic to fall off as much as 8 percent this year with an uptick not taking hold until 2011.