Boeing Projects Buoyant Jetliner Market

 - July 11, 2014, 7:21 AM
Boeing expects narrowbodies such as the 737 to account for nearly 70 percent of all deliveries over the next 20 years. (Photo: Boeing)

Analysts expect established trends in predicted long-term jetliner requirements to continue, with little change to the market breakdown by aircraft size, according to the latest Boeing 20-year forecast statistics, unveiled in London on July 10. Overall, the U.S. manufacturer foresees global demand this year through 2033 for some 36,770 new airliners, amounting to a 4.2-percent increase over the figures quoted in last year’s Current Market Outlook, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing vice-president Randy Tinseth.

Of the required aircraft, 21,270, or about 58 percent, will satisfy fleet growth while the remaining 15,500 replace existing airplanes. Meanwhile, retirements will provide “a strong base” for demand. Boeing expects some 5,410 of the present fleet to remain in service beyond 2033.

Single-aisle aircraft carrying between 90 and 230 passengers will continue to dominate the world’s air-transport landscape, sustaining the trend of the past five years by accounting for almost 70 percent of forecast new commercial-aircraft deliveries. Likewise, small and medium-sized twin-aisle designs, covering a segment ranging in capacity from 200 to 400, will represent a little more than 20 percent of aircraft expected to enter service in the period.

Among bottom- and top-end contenders in the 20-year market, regional jets with up to 90 seats and very large aircraft (VLAs, dubbed “large twin-aisles” by Boeing) holding 400+ occupants will command just 6.8-percent and 1.7-percent shares, respectively.

Boeing projects the single-aisle market to need 25,680 new airplanes, driven by the “continued emergence of low-cost carriers. On the basis of “overwhelming orders and [predicted] deliveries,” Boeing sees the heart of the single-aisle market settling at around 160 seats, the size of the Boeing 737-800 and competing Airbus A320. “There’s no question the market is converging to this size, where network flexibility and cost efficiency meet,” said Tinseth.

Holding steady in Boeing predictions for the past half-decade, the single-aisle market’s 69.8-percent share of 2014-33 deliveries represents a strong gain for the sector, which had accounted for 59.1 percent of forecast 20-year demand in 2004. Tinseth said that order backlogs already cover “about 36- to 37 percent” of the projected single-aisle demand.

The growth has come at the expense of the industry’s regional-jet segment, 20-year projections for which declined from a 17.1-percent share of deliveries 10 years ago to single-digit figures with the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. Indeed, the regional jet share of Boeing’s forecast fell to less than 6 percent in its 2011 to 2013 editions before showing a slight recovery this year to a 6.8-percent share of expected deliveries between now and 2033.

The world’s airlines will require almost 8,000 new airplanes in the combined small and medium-size, twin-aisle market segments, which, like the combined smaller sectors, remained consistent over the past 10 years, according to the CMO. At 7,980 aircraft, the 21.6-percent share stands one percentage point higher now than 10 years ago and has hovered between that level and 23.3 percent throughout 2004 to 2014.

Finally, AIN analysis shows Boeing’s forecast statistics for very large aircraft fluctuating significantly from year to year since 2003. While the 2012 prediction of 20-year demand for 790 such machines duplicated the requirement foreseen in 2004, the U.S. manufacturer’s projection for the 20-year market rose as high as 960 to 990 during 2006, 2007 and 2008—the first three years following the launch of the 747-8 in late 2005.

After falling to 720 in 2010, the VLA market forecast rose to 820 in 2011 before declining once more through 760 last year to the latest prediction of just 620 aircraft. The sector has accounted for between 2 and 3 percent of the global market from 2004 to 2013, with projections falling below 2 percent only in the 2014 edition of the CMO—the first since Boeing launched its 777-X variants late last year.

The Asia-Pacific airline market (including China) will continue to lead deliveries, according to Tinseth. The region will need some 13,460 airplanes, or 37 percent of global requirements, over the forecast period, while North America and Europe each accounts for about another 20 percent, or around 7,500 machines. Latin America and the Middle East will each take about 2,950 airplanes, or eight percent.

Boeing sees airline traffic growing by 5 percent per year, with passenger numbers escalating by a slightly smaller 4.2 percent annually as average stage lengths increase steadily. It expects air cargo traffic to increase by 4.7 percent a year, ahead of world economic growth cited by Boeing of 3.2 percent per year.



Boeing's latest forecasts demonstrates how resiliant commercial aviation is to economic cycles. The main obstacles is whether airline profits will coninue to improve considering that the International Air Transport Association recently downgraded its 2014 profit forecast for the second time this year.

Show comments (1)