Asia-Pacific is surpassing Europe and North America in air passenger traffic, with annual volume expected to soar by about 200% by 2032 from last year's level, according to a new study conducted by European plane maker Airbus.
China and India will be the key drivers in the region's projected growth over the next two decades, with emerging regional countries contributing to a lesser extent.
The region's traffic, as measured by revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) _ the number of paying passengers carried multiplied by the distance flown _ will grow from 1.6 trillion in 2012 to 4.8 trillion in 2032.
As a result, Asia-Pacific's RPK share of the world's total will account for 34% by 2032 from 29% registered in 2012.
But the RPK share of Europe will slip to 22% in 2032 from 26% in 2012, while that of North America will decline to 18% in 2032 from 25%.
According to Airbus's latest Global Market Forecast, the numbers of flyers around the world will increase by 3.8 billion over the next two decades, from today's 2.9 billion to 6.7 billion by 2032, as the attraction of air travel surges.
There will be more new flyers from emerging markets, with two-thirds of the population in emerging countries taking a trip in a year by 2032.
A growing middle class, more wealth, expanding tourism, internationalisation and the proliferation of low-cost carriers are also stimulating demand for air travel.
Asia-Pacific's middle class looks set to quadruple over the next 20 years.
Domestic traffic is also set to rise strongly, with India growing at the fastest rate (nearly 10%), followed by China and Brazil (7%).
The robust traffic trends mean that Asia-Pacific will account for 36% of all new global passenger aircraft demand over the 20-year period, estimated at 28,350 and valued at US$4.1 trillion, followed by Europe (20%) and North America (19%).
Some 10,400 new aircraft will replace existing ones.
With today's fleet of 17,740 aircraft, it means that by 2032 the worldwide fleet will double to nearly 36,560 aircraft.
Traffic growth has led to the average aircraft size growing by 25%, with airlines selecting larger aircraft or upsizing existing backlogs, Airbus said.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business