Air travel to boom on low-cost, emerging economies: Airbus

LONDON, Nov 22, 2006 (AFP) – European aircraft maker Airbus said Wednesday that its estimate of world demand for airliners in the next 20 years had leapt by 31.2 percent in two years to a total of 22,700.

The surge from estimates in 2004 was being driven by demand from low-cost airlines and by growth in emerging countries.

Airbus said it expected the number of aircraft operated by low-cost airlines to increase five-fold from 236 to more than 1,300.

“Over the next 20 years the number of passenger aircraft will more than double,” Airbus chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, told reporters in London.

“Since 2000, new operators, as well as strong economic growth especially in emerging economies, have fuelled expansion of nearly 30-percent in available seats.”

“This trend is continuing, with the Asia-Pacific region expected to grow to a third of the worldwide market by 2025.”

A central factors in the next two decades would be increased demand for fuel-efficient aircraft as a result of pressure on airlines to reduce costs and solve environmental problems.

Airbus, owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, is caught in a crisis over two-year delays to it