Corrects nationality of EADS in paragraph 3
HONG KONG - European planemaker Airbus said it expects airlines in Asia to take delivery of 8,560 aircraft in the next 20 years, representing a third of the global total as the region's fast-growing economic growth fuels demand for air travel.
Airbus, the world's largest passenger aircraft maker, also said it was on track to deliver its first A380 to a Chinese airline, China Southern Airlines <1055.HK><600029.SS>, in the second half, following a mid-flight engine explosion in one of the superjumbos last year.
With air travel increasing, the division of Franco-German-Spanish group EADS said it hoped to maintain a market share of about 50 percent in coming years.
It just means that for us to maintain that market share we cannot sit back and be idle, Christopher Emerson, senior vice-president of product strategy at Airbus, told reporters in Hong Kong. The Airbus forecast is based on stronger-than-average growth in passenger and freight traffic in the region, combined with the replacement of many existing aircraft in service.
Currently, about a quarter of Airbus' aircraft orders are from Asia-Pacific, with the aircraft maker banking on growth in the number of passengers from the region.
Airbus expects passenger numbers carried by Asia-Pacific airlines to rise by 5.8 percent annually, outpacing global growth of 4.8 percent.
Emerson forecast demand in the region over the next 20 years at 3,360 wide-bodied aircraft and 5,200 new planes in the 100-210 seat category, such as its best-selling A320 series.
Airbus sold 644 aircraft with a list value of more than $84 billion in 2010, beating rival Boeing Co's 625 planes.
(Writing by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Chris Lewis)