LONDON – I just wrapped up a meeting with a group of journalists here in the U.K., as well as conducting an international media teleconference. It’s part of activity around the release of the new Boeing commercial airplanes market outlook. Tomorrow I’ll be briefing reporters in Paris just ahead of the big show at Le Bourget next week.
The Current Market Outlook (CMO) for 2007 will look familiar to those of you who’ve been following our commercial airplanes forecast over the past several years. It’s “back to the future,” so to speak. But there are a few interesting new things to talk about this year.
One of the big points of this forecast is that the market continues to grow and liberalize. Over the next 20 years, we see a further diversification of airplane demand, both by region and by airline business model.
In 2026, single-aisles will have the largest market share by number of units.
By 2026 the world airplane fleet will be significantly rejuvenated, because of new airplanes entering the marketplace. And it’s important to point out that freighters will continue to play a big role in the market.
Think about this piece of data: 80% of the airplanes that will be flying in the year 2026 will be airplanes that are not currently flying today. It’s going to be a new airplane fleet - allowing airlines to grow responsibly with the world. Improved efficiencies and the commitment to environmental performance in airplane design means that the future fleet will have the minimum possible impact on the environment, while at the same time allowing people to benefit from the essential connections that only air travel can deliver.
Over the forecast period, many more markets will receive a strong boost as governments ease regulations, and the Open Skies agreements between the European Union and the United States and Canada go into effect.
There is also strong anticipation of Chinese domestic market liberalization. And markets in North Africa and additional cities in Asia are opening up.
Developing regions are becoming more influential. That’s why the Current Market Outlook includes our analysis of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) markets - including Russia - for the first time.
In 2026, the world fleet will have more than 36,400 aircraft in a wide mix of regions and operating segments
Looking at the data by region, over the next 20 years, the center of gravity of the world airline fleet will move substantially towards the Asia-Pacific region. We think this will lead to more balanced airplane demand worldwide.
Other key points in our forecast:
- Innovations will bring more comfort and a better cabin environment for passengers.
- Rapidly expanding low-cost airlines will bring affordable air travel within reach of many more people worldwide, accounting for more than a third of the market for new airplanes.
- Just over half the new deliveries will go to traditional carriers - that will provide a strong focus on service innovation and network development.
- Freighter demand will be robust, due to the need for fuel efficiency, higher reliability and utilization, and long-range capabilities.
It’s clear from going though the CMO process and seeing the amazing work our forecast team has put together, that we continue to have the right products to meet the needs of airlines today and into the future. We also continue to build our services business to help airlines with training and infrastructure. We help them address these issues and provide services to better focus on their customers – the passengers.
By the way, being new to this assignment, I had to ask the question, “How well have we done with the forecast in the past?” What I found out is that if we look back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, we’ve done a pretty good job at estimating air travel growth and air traffic.
Turns out, though, we had underestimated the demand for single-aisles, due to the low-cost carrier phenomenon and the power of liberalization. We also slightly underestimated the need for twin-aisles, and we significantly overestimated the need for big widebodies.
Overall we tend to be conservative in our forecasts – which I think is a good thing.
Anyway, I’m “outatime.” But we’ll talk again from Paris.