Airbus forecasting delivery of 37,400 jets over 20 years
European plane-maker says it is over worst of backlog issue, reports Tim Hepher
Airbus has raised its forecast for aircraft demand over the next 20 years as it begins to recover from two years of late deliveries of its A320neo passenger jet.
Demand has been driven mainly by strong economic growth in emerging markets and the need to replace older planes in mature Western markets. Airbus - headed by Tom Enders, pictured - also confirmed it was studying further development of the largest member of the A320 family.
Reuters reported last month that it was considering an A320 plane with a greater range to head off a potential Boeing rival.
The European plane-maker said it was raising its 20-year forecast for total aircraft deliveries by more than 7pc to 37,400 jets, worth $5.8trn (€4.9trn) at list prices.
That compares with 34,900 aircraft worth $5.3trn a year ago, partly as the result of a higher starting point as the industry absorbs another year of brisk growth in air travel. Dominating the outlook is the market for 'Small' jets up to 230 seats, where Airbus has expanded its portfolio by closing a deal to buy Bombardier's 110-130-seat CSeries jet - mirrored on Thursday by a tentative deal by rival Boeing to acquire the commercial unit of Brazil's Embraer. These will represent 28,550 deliveries worth $3.2trn, or 76pc of all units delivered over the next 20 years, Airbus said in an annual forecast.
Airbus has been hit by delivery delays of single-aisle planes due to engine shortages, but the company's plane-making chief, Guillaume Faury, said it was over the worst, with a logjam of 100 undelivered jets dipping to 86 by the end of June. It is looking at increasing already record production plans for the jets to 70 a month from a 2019 goal of 60 due to strong demand, but has not made any decision, Faury added.
Its new forecasts redrew the traditional distinction between single-aisle or narrowbody jets and twin-aisle aircraft, and between the various types of long-distance aircraft.
The changes are particularly evident for the largest planes. Instead of singling out jets with 450 or more seats, which effectively means the four-engined Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, Airbus now places all planes with 350 or more seats - including the biggest twinjets - in one box called 'Extra Large'.
It believes 1,590 of these will be delivered over two decades. Other categories include 'Medium' between 230 and 300 seats and 'Large' between 300 and 350 seats.