Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer John Leahy has revealed he is optimistic that the airline industry is recovering — although he warned that financing conditions remain tight. The company says airlines will buy 25,000 planes worth $3.1 trillion over the next 20 years, buoyed by Asian sales and increased demand for single-aisle models.
The figure for new aircraft across the industry between 2009 and 2029 is up from the 24,262 it forecast for 2007 to 2027. Airbus predicts that passenger numbers will fall by 2% this year but rise 4.6% next year.
“Recessions begin, they have a middle and an end. We think we’re about the middle,” Leahy said during a presentation in London.
“We’re seeing the recovery starting, but there are still some dark clouds on the horizon because the airlines are in weaker financial condition.” Despite this he reiterated that there has been no surge in cancellations and that the company is still hopeful of achieving its target of about 300 orders this year.
The Asia-Pacific region will account for 31 percent of new aircraft, led by carriers in China and India, the manufacturer predicted, with Europe contributing 25 percent of sales and North America 23 percent.
Airbus rival Boeing predicted in June that 29,000 new planes would be ordered between 2009 and 2029 but also forecast traffic falling as much 8 percent this year and no rebound until 2011.
The growth of low-cost airlines are seen as a major factor in future growth. “Low-cost carriers are a phenomenon that’s very important” and are “much less damaged by this recession,” Leahy said.