European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has released its global market forecast for 2023 to 2042 (GMF23), expecting aircraft demand to double over the next 20 years. The new predictions, released a few days before the Paris Air Show, are 3.4% higher than the previous forecast, released in July 2022.
The report highlights future traffic growth and aircraft demand (for aircraft over 100 seats category) as well as air freight development and demand for cargo aircraft (for aircraft > 10t payload). Airbus forecasts a demand for 40,850 new passenger and freighter aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years, of which 32,630 will be typically Single Aisle and 8,220 typically Widebody. The demand for Freighters is expected to reach 2,510 aircraft over the next 20 years, with about 920 of these being newly built.
Around 17,170 previous generation less fuel-efficient aircraft will be replaced by newer fuel efficient aircraft (v 15,440 GMF22). The proportion of demand to replace previous generation aircraft is likely to increase further going ahead to achieve the sustainability ambitions and commitments by the sector.
The sector has already achieved huge efficiency gains (53% CO2 reduction per RPK – Revenue Passenger Kilometre – since 1990), but only 25% of the current in service fleet is the latest generation fuel efficient aircraft. The short term priority for decarbonising the sector is to replace the remaining 75% previous generation fleets.
The GMF23 is based on macroeconomics assumptions from information services provider IHS-Markit and energy price assumptions considering EU-ETS, CORSIA and further compensation schemes to come, as well as assumptions on SAF penetration. The GMF 2023 explored thousands of sensitivities around energy prices, SAF penetration, GDP, fuel efficiency gains and so on, using the median of all the scenarios as a point of reference.
More and more people are flying for the first time than ever before. At the same time, emissions per revenue passenger kilometre have halved through technology and operational improvements over the last 30 years. Thus, the GMF23 forecasts that air traffic will grow at a median annual amount of 3.6% over the next 20 years. This growth is primarily driven by GDP increase (+2.5% 2019-2042), middle class and first-time fliers expansion, as well as growing trade (+2.9% 2019-2042).