The number of airplanes in the world fleet grows an average 3.5 percent each year as passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger-kilometers, grows 5.0 percent per year. Cargo traffic, measured in revenue tonne-kilometers, grows 5.2 percent a year. Over the next 20 years, this will create a need for 33,060 passenger airplanes and 940 freighter airplanes. Increasing demand for new airplanes from airlines in emerging markets around the globe drives this expansion and significantly increases the industry's resilience to regional economic fluctuations.
Air transport markets and airline business models evolve at different rates from region to region. Airplane demand therefore varies across the globe. As new airlines emerge, established airlines seek to preserve and boost their share of the passenger market by increasing frequency of service, expanding the number of city pairs served, offering new products, and introducing new business and premium passenger services--all while staying true to the airline's brand image.
Each region's unique market characteristics affect its demand for airplanes. For example, the markets in North America and Europe are shaped by aggressive growth of low-cost carriers and the need to replace aging airplanes in the fleets of established network carriers. Demand is strongest for single-aisle airplanes in these markets. In the Middle East, on the other hand, airline business models concentrate on long-haul international services, which favor twin-aisle jetliners. The Asia Pacific region is seeing markets surge for both domestic and international services, creating demand for a more even mix of single- and twin-aisle airplanes.