TOULOUSE, FRANCE —Airbus forecasts soaring jet deliveries, boosted by Asian market and fuel-efficient models.

Airbus forecasts that over the next two decades, aircraft manufacturers will deliver 40,850 new jets, driven by demand from Asia for expanding fleets and more fuel-efficient models to replace older aircraft.

The aircraft maker anticipates the global installed fleet to more than double by 2042, reaching 46,560 aircraft. This will be composed of 23,680 planes for growth and 17,170 aimed at replacing older jets, according to the latest Global Market Forecast by Airbus. It suggests that about 80% of the new deliveries will be narrowbodies such as the A320neo and Boeing's 737 Max, with most of the expansion originating from China and the rest of Asia.

The aviation sector has witnessed a demand surge following a virtual shutdown at the pandemic's peak. In May 2023, domestic route capacity exceeded 2019 levels, and international traffic returned to 89% of pre-pandemic levels, the aircraft manufacturer stated. The forecast from Airbus arrived a day after Avolon Holdings Ltd, a jet leasing company, made a similar prediction, underscoring the industry's confidence in its recovery and growth trajectory.

Avolon projects Airbus to extend its lead in manufacturing narrowbody jets, the largest segment of the commercial aircraft market, over the next two decades. Meanwhile, U.S. rival Boeing is expected to continue its dominance in widebody sales.

Airbus predicts that by 2042, China will have 9,440 aircraft, 85% of which will be narrowbodies. In an effort to penetrate the lucrative duopoly currently held by Airbus and Boeing for such jets, China is developing its own single-aisle airliner, the Comac C919.

Airbus also foresees the Middle East maintaining the highest proportion of widebody fleets regionally. Airlines like Emirates or Qatar Airways already operate large long-range fleets that link their hubs with airports globally.