Airbus released Wednesday fresh forecasts that see an ever larger aircraft market thanks to dynamic economic growth in Asia and as airlines decide to buy more fuel-efficient planes.
The European manufacturer said it sees passenger air travel increasing 4.7 percent annually through 2033, generating a need for 31,400 new aircraft worth $4.6 trillion (3.6 trillion euros).
That is up from its forecast last year of 29,220 aircraft worth $4.4 trillion.
"Aviation is growing impressively and our latest forecast confirms its long term growth," Airbus's chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, said in a statement.
Airbus said it sees the passenger and freighter fleet more than doubling from today's 18,500 aircraft to 37,500 by 2033.
With Airbus expected Thursday to conduct the first flight test of its new A320neo that promises a 20-percent reduction in fuel use, the company said it expected airlines to retire some 12,400 older less efficient passenger and freighter aircraft.
Emerging markets, particularly in Asia, will be the main drivers of growth in the aviation market.
"While mature aviation regions such as Europe and North America will continue to grow, Asia will stand out along with emerging markets for dynamic development," said Leahy.
Most of the forecasted increase in demand is in the segment of medium-range aircraft with a single aisle, such as its existing A320 family aircraft and the new version with more fuel-efficient engines.
It now forecasts a need over the next 20 years for more than 22,000 new aircraft worth $2.1 trillion in this segment, an increase of 2,000 aircraft compared to the previous projection.
This segment represents 70 percent of all new units and 45 percent of the value of all deliveries.
Nevertheless demand is expected to be strong for widebody aircraft at $2.5 trillion, Airbus said.
It predicts airlines will need some 7,800 twin aisle aircraft with between 250 and 400 seats and some 1,500 very large aircraft with over 400 seats for operation on the busiest routes.
Leahy said Airbus was considering ramping up production of its latest widebody models, the A350XWB which should enter service later this year and the A330neo due in 2017, due to high demand.