European plane maker Airbus expects a recovery in total passenger traffic volume by 2010, fueled by global economic growth, a company executive said on Tuesday.

In 2010, worldwide passenger traffic could rise by 4.6 percent, even though it is expected to fall by 2 percent in 2009 from a year ago, Laurent Rouaud, senior vice president of market and product strategy for Airbus, said at a panel discussion at the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress.

In 2011, passenger traffic could grow to 7 percent, he added.

In terms of traffic volume, we've seen the trough of a recession, Rouaud said, but added that the big question remained on costs, especially fuel.

Airbus and Boeing are headed for their worst annual order tally in at least 15 years as struggling airlines cancel or defer almost as many planes as they are buying.

The world's airlines are expected to post 2009 losses of $9 billion, with first-half net losses reaching at least $6 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association. [ID:nL18604].

But Rouaud added that Airbus, the world's largest producer of commercial airliners ahead of Boeing , is on track to deliver 480 aircraft in 2009 and that aircraft financing has been so far, so good.

Our backlog is pretty balanced throughout the world...we are experiencing more deferrals than cancellations, Rouaud said. Liquidity to finance airplanes has come back.

Rouaud's comments contrast with those of Boeing, which said in June that it does not expect a more normal trend in credit until the second half of 2010.

The air transport industry has been battered by a slump in the economy coupled with weakened credit. Together these have cast doubt on the ability of airlines to pay for the roughly $800 billion of planes on order following a previous order boom.

(Editing by Don Durfee)