Airbus has predicted that the current number of aircraft in the skies is likely to more than double over the course of the next two decades.
It also believes Britain will become the third largest customer for new aircraft, adding to the call for an expansion of already-strained airports.
“There is a physical limit. We need more capacity in airports, higher capacity airplanes and greater frequency of flights. And then we need to balance all three,” explained Laurent Rouad, Airbus research executive.
The company believes much of this demand for aircraft will come as a result of new environmental targets and rising fuel prices, as airlines rush to replace older, less efficient planes.
Transport secretary Ruth Kelly has also warned that Britain risks damaging its economy by failing to answer the need for expansion.