The vibrant economies in the Asia Pacific region continue to lead the world economic recovery. Intrinsic strength, progressive trade agreements among the region's countries, and recovering global demand helped most economies in the region maintain growth through the downturn. China and India will lead the region's economic growth with 4.6 percent growth per year for the next 20 years, significantly outpacing the world's average growth rate. The region's share of world GDP will expand from 28 percent today to 36 percent by 2031.
Rising traffic levels
During the next 20 years, nearly half of the world's air traffic growth will be driven by travel to, from, or within the Asia Pacific region. Total traffic for the region will grow 6.4 percent per year. Fueled by national economic growth and the increasing accessibility of air transport services, traffic within the region will grow faster than traffic to and from other regions. Domestic and international travel within the region will grow 6.7 percent per year.
Air cargo plays a critical role in the region's economy, transporting goods over difficult terrain and vast stretches of ocean. Some of the world's largest and most efficient cargo operators are located in Asia. Air cargo will grow 5.9 percent per year during the next 20 years. Carriers within the region are expected to take 330 new freighters, with an additional 450 conversions.
Asia Pacific airlines will need 12,030 new airplanes, valued at $1.7 trillion, over the next 20 years. The number of airplanes in the Asia Pacific fleet will nearly triple, from 4,710 airplanes in 2011 to 13,670 airplanes in 2031. New low-cost carriers and demand for short-haul flying have spurred a substantial increase in single-aisle aircraft. In the past 8 years, single-aisle capacity has doubled and will likely double again in the coming decade.
Liberalization expands markets
The structure of the Asia Pacific airline industry is changing as regulations are liberalized and carriers expand beyond national boundaries. The impact of liberalization is particularly dramatic in the case of low-cost carriers, which are increasing air travel by lowering fares and opening new markets. Established airlines are forming low-cost units to compete, often as joint ventures with high-profile, low-cost brands within the region. This competition is rapidly improving the affordability and accessibility of air travel, which will stimulate demand in established markets and meet the emergent travel needs of the rising middle class.