Many industries have good reason for caution at the moment, given the fears of a "double dip" in the world economy. But the mood in aviation, especially among the aircraft makers, remains optimistic. Airbus has produced new long-range forecasts, predicting that a combination of vigorous emerging-market growth and the need to replace aging and inefficient planes in the rich countries will mean a demand, between now and 2030, for almost 28,000 large aircraft (passenger planes with over 100 seats, plus freighters) worth $3.5tr. Airbus's archrival, Boeing, is even more boosterish: it predicted earlier this month that there would be demand for around 31,000 planes, worth $4tr, by 2030. Both plane makers are already seeing signs of this in their bulging order books.
The aircraft makers' confidence about the emerging world is based on what appears to be an iron law of aviation: rising numbers of urban middle-class people will mean rising demand for air travel, whatever short-term blips the economy suffers.
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