In its latest Global Market Forecast, Airbus predicts that strong passenger growth will lead Argentine carriers to acquire at least 100 passenger aircraft with 100 seats or more over the coming two decades.
Airbus foresees that Argentine carriers will need more than 100 passenger aircraft above 100 seats over the next 20 years to meet demand for traffic growth as well as aircraft replacement. This represents a value at current list prices of US$ 11 billion. Overall demand of new aircraft in Latin America is for some 1,450 aircraft.
The Argentine passenger aircraft fleet of above 100 seats is expected to more than double in the 20 year period, growing from 64 aircraft in service in 2006 to nearly 140 by 2026. Taking retirements into account as well, the new aircraft will include some 80 short haul - single-aisle aircraft, some 20 medium to long-range wide-body aircraft and eight very large aircraft to satisfy strong international travel growth.
The increase in demand for new aircraft is the consequence of the strong passenger traffic growth in Argentina. Since 2003, international passenger traffic has recovered from a downturn in 2001 with a 58 per cent increase, and is today already above the peak level of the year 2000. Domestic traffic is equally rejoining the steep increase of 180 per cent the country saw in the 90s until 2001.
Argentina is expected to lead Latin America in economic growth with strong recovery, which is already driving increasing demand for air transport in Argentina. In addition, sustained leisure travel, especially from the Americas and Europe, has seen arrivals and income from tourism triple over the last 15 years.
"Argentina has a great potential for air travel, with an upswing tourism, an impressive increase in economic growth and a corresponding rise in international and domestic demand. Air travel is and will continue to be the number one transportation for national and international traffic. The capacity for long-haul transportation, but also for short - to medium haul travel needs to grow with this demand. The A380, the brand new A350 XWB and the best-selling A320 Family respond perfectly to the market needs", said Rafael Alonso, Senior Vice President Latin America, Spain and Caribbean of Airbus.
Airbus has been present in Argentina since 1994, when Aerolineas Argentinas started operating the A310. This airline may also become first Latin American A380 operator. The owner of the largest Argentine airline, Grupo Marsans, has committed in 2007 to acquire 61 new Airbus aircraft, including four A380s. In March of this year the Argentine airline received its first A320 aircraft, and will follow with more A320s as well as A330s to be integrated into their fleet in the next years. The Argentine carrier also operates six A340s and two 310s. In 2006, LAN Argentina began to replace its B737 fleet with A320s, which it operates in its domestic network. Today, the airline operates six A320s in an all Airbus fleet, with more deliveries of this type to follow within the next years.
Since 1998, Airbus has taken 63 per cent of the order intake in Latin America. Today, 305 Airbus aircraft are flying with 22 Latin American airlines, which represent around 35 per cent of the passenger fleet in service today. By 2010, this figure will have risen to 50 per cent.
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