Paris Air Show

Boeing sees need for 28,600 new jetliners over next 20 years

 - June 19, 2007, 5:47 AM

Record how long it takes to read this news item. By the time you finish reading, the world’s airlines will have spent hard-earned (or -borrowed) cash to acquire new equipment at the rate of about $8,745/second.

So says Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which last week published its latest 20-year forecast for the new-jetliner market. The U.S. manufacturer foresees airline requirements for some 28,600 new aircraft (including freighters) worth around $2.8 trillion ($2,800 billion) from 2007 to 2026, said marketing vice president Randy Tinseth. In turn, the numbers equate to an average “sticker” price of $97.9 million.

The aircraft will be needed to carry airline traffic predicted to grow at a compound rate of 5 percent per year and air cargo that is expected to increase by a higher 6.1 percent annual rate throughout the period, and to replace 10,400 aircraft that will be withdrawn from service.

Boeing analysts break down the predicted market as requiring 3,700 regional jets (with fewer than 90 seats) 17,650 single-aisle machines (dual class, 90 to 240 seats) 6,290 twin-aisle units (three class, 200 to 400 seats) and 960 airplanes equivalent in size to the 747, or larger (more than 400 seats).

For the first time, the manufacturer’s Current Market Outlook includes aircraft flying in the Commonwealth of Independent States (which adds fewer than 2,000 units to the total).

In the much debated market for very large aircraft (VLAs), Boeing analysts seem to have settled on a 20-year requirement for slightly fewer than 1,000 machines (including freighters). Over the past four years, its prediction has increasingly stabilized, with forecast demand for 790, 900, 990 and now 960 VLAs, respectively.

All the new deliveries would lead to a 2026 fleet of some 36,400 commercial airliners, of which some 80 percent would be less than 20 years old. Boeing foresees just 7,800 of today’s 18,200-strong fleet still being in service in 20 years’ time.

Tinseth pointed out that short-haul and low-cost operators will continue to account for a “disproportionate” number of deliveries–about 36 percent of the 2026 fleet, very slightly down on today’s 37 percent–while the largest change by use will be among cargo aircraft: air freight will represent 11 percent of the 2026 fleet, compared with 3 percent now.

That change is largely at the expense of “global and broad network” operations that will fall from a current share of 54 percent to 48 percent in 20 years’ time. There will be little change in the geographic spread.