Airbus sees more buys from Asian companies

09:38, February 04, 2010      

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Airbus SAS, the world's biggest plane maker, raised its Asia-Pacific demand forecast about 4 percent as economic growth in China makes air travel affordable for more people.

Carriers in the region will buy about 8,000 planes worth $1.2 trillion over 20 years, Airbus said in a statement at the Singapore Air Show yesterday. The plane maker earlier forecast demand for 7,672 planes seating 100 passengers or more.

China, the world's most populous country, will likely account for about a third of Asia-Pacific orders in the period, according to Airbus, which operates an assembly line in the country. Region-wide air travel will grow at a pace of 5.9 percent a year, according to Airbus, as rising wages and market liberalization spurs demand.

"Chinese carriers will have to order more planes this year because the market is growing so fast," said Peter Harbison, managing director at the Sydney-based Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation. "No one can seriously come up with a forecast" for long-term demand in the country.

Asia-Pacific orders over the next 20 years will likely comprise 880 very-large planes, 2,570 wide-bodies and 4,560 single-aisle planes, Airbus said. Cargo traffic will likely expand 6.3 percent a year in the period.

Airbus and Boeing Co face new competition in China, the world's fastest-growing aviation market, as State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China is developing a new plane that will compete with their best-selling models. The Chinese plane maker expects to sell more than 2,000 of the single-aisle planes worldwide over 20 years.

Toulouse-based Airbus may add a new engine to its A320 family of single-aisle planes to cut fuel usage in the face of the potential competition from China and Bombardier Inc's C-Series.

"We have told the airlines that we will make a decision whether to do it or not do it this year," Chief Operating Officer John Leahy said at an air show press conference. Boeing is also considering a similar step for its 737.

Source: China Daily
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