Purpose of the forecast
The Current Market Outlook is our long-term forecast of air traffic volumes and airplane demand. The forecast has several important practical applications. It helps shape our product strategy and provides guidance for our long-term business planning. We have shared the forecast with the public since 1964 to help airlines, suppliers, and the financial community make informed decisions.
Each year we start fresh, so we can factor the effects of current business conditions and developments into our analysis of the long-term drivers of air travel. The forecast details demand for passenger and freighter airplanes, both for fleet growth and for replacement of airplanes that retire during the forecast period. We also project the demand for conversion of passenger airplanes to freighters.
Air travel continues to be resilient
The remarkable resilience of air travel is amply documented in more than 45 years of published editions of the Boeing Current Market Outlook.
Commercial aviation has weathered many downturns in the past. Yet recovery has followed quickly as the industry reliably returned to its long-term growth rate of approximately 5 percent per year. Despite uncertainties, 2012 passenger traffic rose 5.3 percent from 2011 levels. We expect this trend to continue over the next 20 years, with world passenger traffic growing 5.0 percent annually. Air cargo traffic has been moderating after a high period in 2010. Air cargo contracted by 1.5 percent in 2012. Expansion of emerging-market economies will, however, foster a growing need for fast, efficient transport of goods. We estimate that air cargo will grow 5.0 percent annually through 2032.
The shape of the market
We forecast a long-term demand for 35,280 new airplanes, valued at $4.8 trillion. We project that 14,350 of these new airplanes (41 percent of the total new deliveries) will replace older, less efficient airplanes, reducing the cost of air travel and decreasing carbon emissions. The remaining 20,930 airplanes will be for fleet growth, stimulating expansion in emerging markets and innovative airline business models. Approximately 24,670 airplanes (70 percent of new deliveries) will be single-aisle airplanes, reflecting growth in emerging markets such as China, and the continued expansion of low-cost carriers throughout the world. Widebody share will also increase, from 23 percent of today's fleet to 24 percent in 2032. The 8,590 new widebody airplanes will allow airlines to continue expansion into more international markets.