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20-Year Predictions from Airbus & Boeing

July 21, 2017



The Paris Airshow is known for the big sales and delivery announcements made each year by the big OEMs. Also at the show Boeing and Airbus released their latest 20-year forecasts, with Boeing being the more optimistic of the two.




According to Airbus’s latest forecast, the world’s passenger aircraft fleet above 100 seats is set to more than double in the next 20 years to over 40,000 aircraft as traffic is set to grow at 4.4 percent per year.

Boeing predicts an expected 3.6 percent increase over 2016’s estimates, projecting the need for 41,030 new airliners over the next 20 years, valued at US$6.1 trillion Dollars. This has been largely attributed to increased passenger traffic over the past year and a growing market for single-aisle airlines. “Passenger traffic has been very strong so far this year, and we expect to see it grow by 4.7 percent each year over the next two decades,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Single-aisle demand is driven by low-cost carriers and emerging markets. According to Boeing, 29,530 new airliners will be needed in this segment, an increase of almost five percent over last year’s prediction.

Boeing’s forecast for the widebody segment includes 9,130 new aeroplanes, with a large wave of potential replacement demand beginning early in the next decade. With more airlines shifting to small and medium/large widebody aircraft, such as the A350, 787 and 777X, the primary demand for very large aircraft going forward will be in the cargo market. Boeing projects the need for 920 new production widebody freighters over the forecast period.

The Asia market, including China, will continue to lead the way in total aircraft deliveries over the next two decades, according to Boeing. Worldwide, 57 percent of the new deliveries will be for airline growth, while 43 percent will be for replacement of older aeroplanes with new, more fuel-efficient jets. In Africa, the forecast is for 1,220 new aircraft – the lowest of any region, and also showing little change from last year’s forecast.

Airbus predicts that over the next 20 years, the total industry aftermarket services spend will reach around US$3.2 trillion, mainly driven by maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), which for aircraft above 100 seats will double to represent 1.85 trillion. Training, cabin and systems upgrades are also major contributors to the overall services market.

On an annual basis, Airbus predicts that the MRO spend will grow from US$60 billion to over US$120 billion per year. For this segment, Airbus reckons there will be a necessity to manage a mixed-fleet of both ageing and new, technologically advanced aircraft. Again, the Asia Pacific will see the largest growth in MRO demand over the period.

As the world fleet grows, so does the need for more pilots and technicians. Over one million pilots and technicians will need to be trained over the next 20 years, according to Airbus’ forecast.

Finally, Airbus projects that over the next 20 years the upgrade market will be worth US$180 billion, driven in part by high competition between airlines who value the ‘passenger experience’ as a differentiator (comfort, connectivity etc.), as well as systems upgrades. Notably, 38 percent of this market will be Asia Pacific.

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