The Middle East will take delivery of an expected 450 new 60- to 150-seat aircraft over the next 20 years, according to Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s Market Forecast 2017-2036, released at the Dubai Airshow 2017. The large regional aircraft category (60-100 seats) will account for 200 deliveries, while the small single-aisle category (100-150 seats) will take 250 aircraft, according to the outlook, expanding the region’s fleet of these models some 340 percent, from 170 in 2016, to an expected 570 in 2036. During this span, 150 aircraft in the segment are expected to be retired, while 110 will migrate into the market. Meanwhile, traffic flow within the Middle East, for which these aircraft are key, is expected to grow by a factor of seven.
Yet the region’s growth in this segment’s capacity over the past five years has led to a yield drop of almost 30 percent among Middle East operators, according to Bombardier, and double-digit capacity increases of the past two years, aimed at gaining market share have accelerated the decline. While profitable last year, the region’s airlines are expecting to see profits decline. The remedy: “Right-sizing of the fleet,” the forecast says, which will lead to higher market penetration and improved yields. It recommends these carriers “re-examine and re-balance their fleet mix in order to develop intra-regional connectivity, which has been largely bypassed in favor of inter-regional networks, to fit capacity to demand.”
Bombardier sees itself as part of the solution. With its Q400 turboprops, CRJ 700, 900 and 1000 regional jets, and recently introduced CSeries small single-aisle jets, it is “well positioned to take advantage of a move to strict capacity management in the region,” said Jean-Paul Boutibou, the company’s vice president, Sales, Middle East and Africa.