Airbus, one of the two biggest airliner manufacturers in the world, continues to expect air traffic, measured in route-passenger kilometres, to double over the next 15 years. This is despite the rising fuel prices.

Speaking to journalists in Toulouse, France, on Wednesday morning, Airbus COO for customers John Leahy stated that “you can’t have world GDP [gross domestic product] growth without world aviation growth”.

Airbus expects global demand for jet airliners to total 24 000 over the next 20 years.

The main drivers in this future traffic growth will be the Middle East, Asia, low-cost airlines (especially in Asia), deregulation of the airline sector in Asia, and also growth in Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Over the next 20 years, Asia will become the largest market in terms of airline traffic.

Leahy pointed out that the rising fuel prices were pressuring airlines into acquiring new aircraft, which are more fuel efficient than the older aircraft they currently operate.

For example, the new Airbus Superjumbos, the A380 is, per passenger per 100 km, more fuel efficient than the average motor car on sale in Europe today. The A380 fuel consumption is 5 l per passenger per 100 km.

“By 2025,” affirms Leahy “we expect to reduce this to 3 l per passenger per 100 km”.