Boeing has forecast a dramatic pickup in demand for aircraft with a requirement of 19,300 jets over the next 10 years worth $US3.2 trillion.
The aerospace giant has released its 2021 market outlook on the future of aviation with Darren Hulst, VP of commercial marketing, upbeat that the world economy had recovered from COVID-19 but he was cautious on international barriers to travel.
“The fundamentals are stronger now than they were compared to the two previous crises the industry has faced (9/11 and the GFC),” Mr Hulst said.
He said the Asia Pacific region would lead the recovery with a forecast of almost 30 percent growth in GDP by 2025 compared to 2019., which was well ahead of Europe’s that would see growth of about 10 percent over the same period.
“In many ways, the economy will lead the airline industry out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Hulst said.
Boeing said domestic travel would fully recover to 2019 traffic levels by next year, regional travel by 2023, and long haul international by 2024. But it said the recovery would vary significantly from country to country depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr. Hulst said that due to COVID-19 almost 2000 aircraft had already been retired with another 5000 grounded with an uncertain future.
In its market outlook, Boeing said that over the next 20 years, from the base year of 2019, the world economy would grow at an average of 2.7 percent a year, passenger traffic and air cargo at 4 percent, and fleet (jets) at 3.1 percent.
The company has forecast that over the 20 years 43,610 jets would be delivered, with 19,300 of those in the next 10 years — half of that for growth and the rest replacement aircraft.
And 75 percent – or 32,600 – of those aircraft will be the 180-220 seat short to medium-haul aircraft.
China and the Asia-Pacific region would account for 41 percent of the overall demand for aircraft.
Mr. Hulst said the major drivers in the replacement of aircraft would be sustainability and efficiency with twin-engine aircraft such as the 787, 777X, and A350 taking the place of four-engine 747s and A380s.
Boeing says in the US market in the past 30 years aircraft have become twice as efficient compared to the motor car which has only seen a 15 percent improvement in efficiency.
The company says that for the 3,000 near-term retirements to be replaced by more fuel-efficient models the savings would be $9 billion in fuel in a full year and $16b in operating costs as well as 36 tonnes of CO2.
Mr Hulst said there had been a rapid recovery in markets where there were minimal restrictions, such as domestic with travel at 84 percent of 2019 levels but international was way behind at 26 percent.
However, in the international arena airlines have added over 100 new long-haul routes in the past year as passengers seek to fly non-stop to their destination says, Boeing.
To service this growth and cover retirements Boeing says the airline industry will need to recruit and train 612,000 new pilots, 626,000 technicians, and 886,000 cabin crew over the next 40 years.