Airbus predicted on Thursday that demand for new aircraft would remain healthy over the next 20 years, based on expectations of steady air traffic growth in the developing world and the rapid expansion of low-cost carriers.
The prediction comes even as the world’s airlines are suffering a second straight year of steep losses.
The company forecast that airlines would buy nearly 25,000 new jets through 2028, with a market value of US$3.1 trillion.
That represented an increase of 2.7 percent from its previous forecast in February last year, when air carriers were reeling from the initial effects of the global economic crisis.
Airbus, which expects to secure orders for around 300 planes this year, also said the steep decline in world air traffic would probably stabilize next year and could rise by as much as 4.6 percent.
The company forecast a decline in traffic of 2 percent to 4 percent for this year.
The International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday that it expected the world’s airlines to lose a combined US$11 billion this year on top of a US$16.8 billion loss last year.
But despite those hefty losses, John Leahy, the chief salesman for Airbus, said that Airbus had seen relatively few order delays and cancelations.
“A lot of people have talked about massive cancelations in the recession, but that’s not really true,” Leahy said at a presentation in London.
He said Airbus had received fewer than 40 cancelations this year, less than 1 percent of the company’s order backlog of around 3,600 planes.
Still, Leahy acknowledged that many Airbus customers were having difficulty securing financing and had postponed deliveries — some by several years.
The company’s American rival, Boeing, has had at least 64 order cancellations this year.
Almost all of the cancelations were for its 787 Dreamliner, which has been delayed more than two years by production snags.
Analysts have warned that the ballooning industry losses are almost certain to lead to additional delays and cancelations of orders in the months to come.
Analysts at UBS forecast last month that there would be a global surplus of 1,400 commercial jets by the end of this year.
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