Airbus, Boeing Examine Future of Asia-Pacific Aviation Market

Aircraft at Tokyo's Haneda Airport

By Paul Riegler on 14 February 2014
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The world’s two leading aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, took the opportunity at the Singapore Airshow to provide their view of the Asia Pacific market over the coming decades.

Airbus believes that the Asia region will account for 45% of global passengers by the year 2032.  It also envisions that airlines servicing the region will be flying larger passenger planes on shorter routes.

Traditionally, airlines have used larger planes, such as Airbus A330s or Boeing 787 Dreamliners, both with a capacity of roughly 300 passengers, for longer routes, such as transoceanic or transcontinental, while they use smaller single-aisle jets, such as Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s, to link city pairs that are separated by less than five hours of flying time.

Airbus sees this shift in widebody usage occurring on shorter routes, those of up to 2,300 miles or 3,700 kilometers, in markets such as China, the example it cited.

Congruent with the idea that widebodies are changing roles, American Airlines began replacing its larger 767-200 aircraft on its premium transcon routes linking New York with San Francisco and Los Angeles with far smaller but more luxurious Airbus A321T planes to allow for greater frequency of service.

Asia Pacific comprises 36% of the world’s new airplane deliveries and Boeing is forecasting a $1.9 trillion market over the coming 20 years.  It foresees 12,820 airplanes with demand driven largely by airlines acquiring single-aisle planes.

“New low-cost carriers [in the region] … have fueled the substantial increase in single-aisle planes,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of marketing, told reporters at a media briefing in Singapore.

The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer sees single-aisle planes comprising 69% of new aircraft sales and twin-aisle planes, ranging in size from the Airbus A350X and Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the A380 and 747-8 Intercontinental, comprising 28%.

While Boeing speaks of “affordable fares for the emerging middle class” Airbus has focused on what it called “new emerging affluent travelers” and “high income frequent travelers,” and sees a key question revolving around comfort and service.

Airbus says there is a demand for flights that allow for “sleep, wellbeing and relaxation” and that “Asians would pay more money for more seat space as it symbolizes improved comfort and brings more relaxation.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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