Fleet size will double
The in-service commercial fleet will grow an average 3.5 percent per year to double in size from 19,890 airplanes today to 39,780 by 2031. Over the next 20 years, the airline industry will need 34,000 new airplanes, of which 41 percent will replace older, less efficient airplanes; 59 percent of the new deliveries will reflect growth in emerging markets and evolving business models.
Single-aisle airplanes to predominate
Single-aisle airplanes continue to dominate the world's fleet. In 2011, the single-aisle category comprised 63 percent of the world's fleet. By 2031, we estimate that share will rise to 69 percent. Of the forecast demand for 23,240 new airplanes, valued at $2.0 trillion, 36 percent will replace older airplanes, while 64 percent will expand the fleet. Emerging markets are driving demand for single-aisle airplanes. The Asia Pacific region is expected to need 7,990 new airplanes to expand its single-aisle fleet from 3,170 to 9,230 airplanes by 2031. Latin America, which is expected to take delivery of 2,080 new single-aisle airplanes, and the Middle East, which is expected to take delivery of 1,060 new airplanes, also generate strong demand. Low-cost carriers, whose business models focus on fleet commonality, also drive demand for single-aisle airplanes.
Expanding international markets increase demand
Traffic on long-haul routes is forecast to grow 5.2 percent annually over the next 20 years, creating demand for 7,950 new twin-aisle airplanes. The largest twin-aisle markets are Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and the Middle East, which will take nearly 90 percent of all new deliveries.
Efficiencies of the fleet
Increased airline costs, specifically increased fuel costs, are driving airlines to operate the most efficient aircraft available. Consequently, we foresee a modest increase in the average size of airplanes in operation. Airlines are replacing small regional jets with larger regional jets. This trend continues in the single-aisle category. Airlines that have ordered 737-700s are ordering 737-800s, and airlines that ordered 737-800s are ordering 737-900ERs. In the twin-aisle fleet, it is the medium twin-aisle category, represented by the 777, that is growing. In 2011, this size category made up 50 percent of the twin-aisle fleet. By 2031, it will make up 59 percent of the twin-aisle fleet. Current orders reflect this trend. In 2011, there were 202 orders placed for 777s, an increase of 165 percent compared to 2010.