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Asia Pacific fleets tipped to surge

  • Asia Pacific airlines to take delivery of one new aircraft every day over the next five years – Ascend fleet forecast;
  • Widebody fleet to rise by 35% by 2013, narrowbodies by 51% and regional jets to more than double;
  • Further 1,759 aircraft scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2018;
  • Emirates aims to become world’s largest long-haul carrier by 2012.

Asia Pacific airlines are expected to take delivery of one new aircraft every day over the next five years, resulting in a 49% increase in the total number of aircraft in the region’s fleet, net of disposals. The data, contained in the latest Ascend Global Aircraft detailed global fleet forecast, shows a 35% increase in the Asia Pacific (including India and China) widebody aircraft fleet (to 1,585 units by 2013), a 51% increase in narrowbodies (to 3,195 aircraft) and a 113% increase in regional jets (to 375 aircraft), due mainly to expected growth in China.

In the following graph, the India and China data are presented separately.

Asia Pacific, India and China fleet forecasts: 2013F and 2018F (units)

Source: Ascend Online Fleets

A further 1,759 aircraft are scheduled for delivery to Asia Pacific airlines between 2013 and 2018, resulting in a regional fleet of 2,158 widebodies, 4,047 narrowbodies and 709 regional jets.

The proportion of widebodies in the region compared to the worldwide fleet is set to rise from 38% in 2008 to 41% by 2018, while the region’s narrowbody fleet is poised to soar from 21% of the worldwide total this year to 25% in just five years, and stay at that proportion in 2018.

The regional jet fleet in Asia Pacific accounts for just 6% of the global total, but the Ascend forecast predicts this will rise to 9% in 2013 and more than double to 13% by 2018.

But one airline - from outside the region - is set to eclipse all other long-haul carriers. Emirates has estimated it would become the largest long-haul airline in the world by 2012, when it carries 33 million passengers. The Dubai-based airline, which launched services to its 100th destination – Cape Town – last week, currently has 114 aircraft in service and a further 243 on order.

But technically, in terms of total international traffic (including short and long-haul) Emirates will still have several large carriers ahead of it in 2012, including two rapidly expanding European LCCs, Ryanair & easyJet.

World’s largest international airlines: 2006
Passengers (mill)
Air France
British Airways
American Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Cathay Pacific
Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & IATA

But stripping out the European short-haul operations of the current top six, and assuming current industry aircraft orders are maintained, Emirates will become the largest international airline by 2012.

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