Middle East requires over 1 920 aircraft worth US$347 billion over next 20 years – study

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Airlines in the Middle East will require 1 921 new passenger and freighter aircraft (above 100 seats) between 2011 and 2030 valued at US$347.4 billion, according to Airbus’ latest Global Market forecast (GMF).

The aircraft maker predicts that of these, 1 882 will be passenger aircraft (US$336.3 billion) while 39 will be freighter aircraft (US$11.1billion).

The main drivers of the continued strong demand for new aircraft include fleet expansion and replacement, greater urbanisation, an increasing number of mega cities and the overall ongoing expansion of the region as a geographical hub and tourist destination, Airbus says. With today’s aircraft capabilities every major destination around the globe is within reach of a direct flight from the Middle East.

These factors are driving an above average passenger demand growth rate of 6.4 per cent per year which is well above the world average 4.8 per cent over the next 20 years, Airbus says. This above average growth rate will result in the almost trebling of the regions fleet from over 800 aircraft today to some 2 260 by 2030.

Middle Eastern carriers are increasingly choosing larger aircraft due to the growing number of global hubs in the region, and particularly within aircraft families for the reduced training and maintenance costs, reduced fuel burn and environmental benefits they bring.

The region’s new passenger aircraft requirement includes: 779 single-aisle aircraft, valued at US$57.3 billion; 801 twin-aisle aircraft valued at US$179.8 billion and 302 very large aircraft (VLA) valued at US$99.2 billion. Of these 1 442 aircraft will be necessary for growth and 440 for replacing ageing aircraft with newer more eco-efficient models. In the freighter aircraft category, there will be a demand for 13 twin-aisle aircraft and 26 VLA aircraft.
“The Middle East remains one of the world’s most robust aviation regions and this is confirmed by a 200 per cent increase in inter-regional passenger traffic over the last 10 years,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The region is uniquely placed with more than 85 per cent of the world’s population within reach of a direct flight, making the Middle East a fertile market place for our eco-efficient aircraft today and beyond.”

Airlines in sub Saharan Africa are predicted to require 528 new passenger aircraft by 2030, with a value of US$65 billion Airbus said last month. This includes 350 single aisle aircraft 157 twin aisles and 21 very large aircraft.

Overall, airlines in the Africa and Indian Ocean region are forecast to require 1 101 new aircraft valued at US$126 billion by 2030. Africa’s passenger aircraft requirement includes 790 single aisle aircraft, 273 twin aisles, and 38 very large aircraft.

Globally, there is a move towards larger aircraft in all size categories to help absorb growing passenger numbers despite infrastructure constraints.

Airbus in September predicted in its Global Market Forecast that by 2030 some 27 800 new aircraft will be required by airlines around the world. 10 500 will be needed for replacing older less fuel efficient aircraft. The combined value of the over 26 900 passenger aircraft (above 100 seats) and more than 900 new factory built freighters forecast by the GMF is US$3.5 trillion. At the end of September, Airbus had sold 11 098 aircraft and delivered 6 882.



By 2030 the global passenger fleet will more than double from today’s 15 000 aircraft to 31 500, Airbus said. The trend towards larger aircraft will continue, in order for the aviation sector to keep pace with future growth in demand. – Airbus notes that the average size of aircraft is increasing.