INTERNATIONAL. Analysis by aircraft manufacturer Airbus indicates that the number of cities with over 10,000 daily long-haul passengers will rise from 64 in 2017 to 76 a decade later in 2027, an increase of +19%.

These so-called megacities will be centres for long-haul travel – defined by Airbus as flight distances greater than 2,000 nautical miles and excluding domestic traffic).

The figures come from Airbus’s global market forecast for 2018 to 2037, entitled Global networks, Global citizens, released in time for the Farnborough Airshow which started on Monday.

The top 20 megacities for long-haul air traffic in 2017 and 2027 as defined by Airbus.

The data also show that during the 2017 to 2027 decade, London’s airports will give up their combined crown to Dubai, with New York remaining in third place. Other key moves at the top of the table are: Doha rising to sixth place from eighth (effectively swapping with Frankfurt); Singapore moving ahead of Tokyo among Asia Pacific hubs into fifth place; and Amsterdam slipping from ninth to 16th place.

Asia Pacific sees top ten boost – but loses overall share

Contrary to many expectations, the weight of Asia Pacific locations will not increase over the period. Its megacities will rise by just two (Dhaka and Perth) to go from 20 to 22, which means the region will lose share, moving from 31.3% in 2017 to 28.9% in 2027.

However, what will interest duty free and travel retailers is that certain hubs in the region will make major gains: Beijing will move from 14th to ninth place, and Shanghai from 15th to tenth. This will give Asia Pacific double the weight it currently has in the top ten.

An extra 300 million passengers flew in 2017 and by 2037 growth of the middle classes in emerging markets will drive further increases.

Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schulz said: “Over the last 30 years, air transport’s centre of gravity has moved south and east.” However, while Europe’s airports will lose some momentum at the top of the list, across all 76 megacities in 2027 the region will see an increase. Four additional locations (Helsinki, Vienna, Düsseldorf and Copenhagen) will push its share up to 25%.

Both North and Latin America will retain stable respective shares at 22.4% and 2.6%. In North America, three locations (Philadephia, Orlando and Seattle) will gain megacity status, while in Latin America Rio de Janeiro joins the list.

CIS and Africa will both lose share as their megacities (Moscow, Johannesburg and Addis Ababa) will not be joined by any new locations in the next decade.

Global networks, Global citizens from Airbus serves as a reference for airlines, airports, investors, governments, non-governmental agencies and others. Overall it anticipates that air traffic will grow at +4.4% annually, requiring some 37,400 new passenger and dedicated freighter aircraft at a value of US$5.8 trillion over the next 20 years.

Note: Look out for our more detailed report on ‘Global networks, Global citizens’ in this week’s edition of The Moodie Davitt e-Zine.