Airbus SAS (EAD), the largest maker of commercial aircraft, predicted airlines will buy $3.9 trillion worth of planes in the next two decades, driven by demand in India and China.
Airlines will buy 28,200 planes, Airbus said in its annual industrywide forecast today. The prediction is 1.3 percent higher than what Airbus anticipated a year earlier, while trailing the 4.7 percent growth forecast in average annual passenger traffic for the next two decades.
Airbus, based in Toulouse in southern France, has remained behind Boeing Co. (BA:US) in deliveries so far in 2012, after leading the industry every year since 2003. Both companies make the bulk of their business with single-aisle aircraft that serve shorter routes, and Airbus predicted today that by 2031, four of the world’s biggest traffic flows will be domestic.
“Emerging economic regions will represent more than half of all growth in the next 20 years,” Airbus said in a statement. Most aircraft, or 35 percent, will go to buyers in the Asia-Pacific region, with China the largest market by value.
The global fleet will grow to 32,550 passenger aircraft from 15,550 by 2031, and about 10,350 in-service airliners will be replaced, Airbus said. The total compares with competitor Boeing’s July forecast for 34,000 planes valued at $4.5 trillion, including 2,020 regional jets Airbus does not count.
Airbus raised its single-aisle forecast 1.6 percent to 19,500 planes. Single-aisle jets will make up 69 percent of the market, while wide-body jets will constitute 25 percent, Airbus predicted. The aircraft maker’s wide-body forecast is only 1 percent higher than last year’s.
The two dominant aircraft manufacturers compete in the wide-body market with the A330 and A350 airliner from Airbus, while Boeing sells the popular 777 that features the world’s largest engine and the new 787 Dreamliner. Airbus is still working on the A350 and has pushed back entry into service of the jet to the second half of 2014.
The market for very large aircraft is one area the two aircraft maker’s forecasts have differed for some time. While Airbus predicted today that demand will top 1,700 units, or $600 billion in value, Boeing estimates less than half that amount, at 790 units. Airbus offers the A380 double-decker in that segment, while Boeing sells its 747-8 jumbo,
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