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Updated June 27, 2022

  • Joe Breitfeller

Airbus Projects Demand for 39,000 New Passenger and Freighter Aircraft by 2040

Airbus foresees the demand for 39,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft by 2040 driven by retirement of older aircraft in support of industry decarbonization efforts. The company also predicts the need for over 550,000 new pilots and over 710,000 technicians.


Airbus Projects Demand for 39,000 New Passenger and Freighter Aircraft by 2040 - Courtesy Airbus

On Saturday (November 13, 2021), Airbus announced from the Dubai Airshow 2021 that over the next 20 years, demand for air transport will largely shift from fleet growth to the replacement of older aircraft, resulting in the need for 39,000 new passenger and freight aircraft by 2040. Of these, the company believes that 15,250 of new aircraft will be for fleet replacements. Airbus projects that by 2040 the vast majority of aircraft in operation will be the latest generation and most fuel-efficient models, up from only 13% today. The economic benefits of the industry extend beyond aviation and contribute around 4 percent to the annual global GDP, sustaining approximately 90 million jobs worldwide.


In Saturday’s announcement, Airbus’ Head of International, Christian Scherer, said,


“As economies and air transport mature, we see demand increasingly driven by replacement rather than growth. Replacement being today’s most significant driver for decarbonisation. The world is expecting more sustainable flying and this will be made possible in the short-term by the introduction of most modern airplanes. Powering these new, efficient aircraft with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) is the next big lever. We pride ourselves that all our aircraft - the A220, A320neo Family, the A330neo and the A350 - are already certified to fly with a blend of 50% SAF, set to rise to 100% by 2030 - before making ZEROe our next reality from 2035 onwards.”


Airbus' Projected Commercial Aircraft Demand for 2021-2040 - Infographic Courtesy of Airbus

By 2040, Airbus projects that new aircraft demand will include around 29,700 Small aircraft like the A220 and A320 Families, 5,300 Medium aircraft such as the A321XLR and A330neo, as well as 4,000 Large aircraft, like the A350. The company also expects that cargo demand, boosted by e-commerce will be driven by an expected growth in express freight of 4.7% annually, and a general cargo (75% of the market) growth rate of 2.7% per annum. Overall, over the next two decades Airbus projects the need for approximately 2,440 freighters, of which 880 will be new-build.

Growth in aviation services, including maintenance, training, upgrades, flight operations, dismantling and recycling, remains on track at Airbus’ pre-pandemic forecast levels, reaching a cumulative value of around $4.8 trillion in the next 20 years. Additionally, Airbus predicts the need for over 550,000 new pilots and more than 710,000 highly skilled technicians over the next two decades. While aircraft and engine maintenance will remain the leading services segment, other areas such as flight operations, ground operations and sustainable services, are also expected to grow significantly.



Source: Airbus