Demand for new aircraft is growing at a higher rate than previously predicted, Airbus announced as it began work on the first carbon composite barrel for the A350 XWB fuselage in Spain. Almost 26,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at $3.2 trillion will be needed between 2010 and 2029, to satisfy demand according to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast.
Demand for very large passenger and freighter aircraft like the A380, represents 18 percent of the dollar value at $570 billion. Airbus has 573 firm orders for the A350, which is projected to enter service in late 2014. Demand is being driven in part for customers pushing for more fuel-efficient aircraft, a major selling point of the composite-bodied aircraft.
Airbus had originally planned to use new aluminum-lithium alloys in the fuselage of the A350, but shifted to carbon composite after the early marketing success of the Boeing Dreamliner 787. The Airbus barrel now under construction is 5.5 meters long and will fit at the rear of the aircraft.