Aviation Business News

World will spend US$2.8 trillion on new aircraft by 2039 despite pandemic, says Cirium

A320neo aircraft Photo: Airbus

The world will need US$2.8 trillion (£2.1 trillion) worth of new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to a report by Cirium.

The 2020 Cirium Fleet Forecast predicted the spend despite the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

It predicts that 43,315 new passenger and freighter aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2039.

That represents an 8 per cent drop compared to the 20-year outlook in the 2019 Cirium Fleet Forecast and includes some 4,600 fewer deliveries in the next decade.

Flying hours will also fall by 45 per cent in 2020 to 94 million, compared to 170 million in 2019. However, the use of more fuel efficient aircraft this year means that total CO2 emissions are likely to fall by 50 per cent. Over the next 20 years it believes that total flying hours will increase to 310 million.

It also predicted that Asian markets will be the growth engine for the global aviation industry during the next two decades. China looks to be the biggest single destination for new commercial and passenger aircraft deliveries between 2020 and 2039, with a 22 per cent share – one point ahead of the rest of Asia combined.

The share of deliveries to Europe will drop 4 per cent, from the 20 per we see now to 16 per cent by 2039. This still means that over 7,000 new aircraft will be delivered to European airlines over the two decades.

Only 6 per cent of new aircraft will be delivered to the Middle East, however as these deliveries comprise higher levels of twin-aisle aircraft, the region will account for 10 per cent of the total value of deliveries.

Airbus and Boeing are expected to remain the two largest commercial aircraft manufacturers (OEMs), between them delivering an estimated 77 per cent of aircraft and 86 per cent by value through 2039.

In the passenger market, single-aisle jets will account for 67 per cent of deliveries and 54 per cent of delivery value, with the core of this US$1.5 trillion (£1.1 trillion) market continuing to be the 150-seat size, typified by the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max 8.

The US$1.1 trillion (£824 million) twin-aisle market will focus on 787s and A350s, with ‘mid-sized’ 250-300 seaters taking almost two-thirds of delivery value. Twin-aisle supply will remain the last duopoly in the commercial sector until the turn of the decade.

Looking long-term, reaching the forecast traffic growth will require the global passenger fleet to increase by just over 20,000 units. That equates to a 2.9% annual growth rate, taking the fleet to some 47,000 aircraft by the end of 2039.

This still represents a reduction of some 5,000 aircraft (10 per cent) over the numbers forecast in the 2019 Cirium Fleet Forecast, reflecting the loss of growth during the post-pandemic years.

The single-aisle fleet will grow faster at 3.5 per cent annually, against 2.7 per cent for twin-aisles due to long-haul traffic taking longer to recover. The regional aircraft fleet will grow more modestly at just over 1 per cent.

About 82 per cent of the current fleet is forecast to be retired from passenger service during the 20-year period, with 74 per cent for freighters, which have longer economic useful lives. Overall there will be over 21,600 retirements. The freighter fleet will grow by at almost 2 per cent annually to reach 4,100 aircraft.

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