Corrects nationality of EADS in paragraph 3
By Alison Leung
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HONG KONG (Reuters) - 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
"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
(Writing by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Chris Lewis)