European planemaker Airbus recently said passenger and freighter aircraft is set to double in two decades citing the growing traffic and demand worldwide.
In a statement, it said the world’s passenger and freighter aircraft fleet would need 48,000 planes by 2038, more than double the current 23,000 as traffic grows at 4.3% annually.
"By 2038, of the forecast 47,680 fleet, 39,210 are new and 8,470 remain from today," Airbus said.
Updating the current fleet with latest-generation, fuel-efficient aircraft will also largely contribute to the progressive decarbonization of the air transport industry and the objective of carbon-neutral growth from 2020, it added.
Reflecting the current evolution of aircraft technology, Airbus has simplified its segmentation to consider capacity, range and mission type. It said a short-haul A321 is Small (S) while the long-haul A321LR or XLR can be categorized as Medium (M).
While the core market for the A330 is classified as Medium (M), it is likely a number will continue to be operated by airlines in a way that sits within the Large (L) market segmentation along with the A350 XWB, it added.
The new segmentation gives rise to a need for 39,210 new passenger and freighter aircraft -29,720 Small (S), 5,370 Medium (M) and 4,120 Large (L) - according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast 2019-2038.
Of these new aircraft needed, Airbus said, 25,000 aircraft are for growth and 14,210 are to replace older models with newer ones offering superior efficiency.
“The 4% annual [passenger] growth reflects the resilient nature of aviation, weathering short term economic shocks and geopolitical disturbances. Economies thrive on air transportation. People and goods want to connect,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.
“Globally, commercial aviation stimulates GDP growth and supports 65 million livelihoods, demonstrating the immense benefits our business brings to all societies and global trade," he added.
The forecasted increase in plane needs will also result in a need for 550,000 new pilots and 640,000 new technicians.