In 2015, there were approximately 22,510 jet airplanes in service, a number that is expected to double over the next 20 years to an in-service fleet of 45,240 airplanes. To achieve that, 39,620 new airplanes will be needed, and 28,140 of them, or 71 percent of the total, will be single-aisle airplanes. Additionally, 9,100 new widebody airplanes will be required. Regionally, the need for new airplanes is well balanced: Asia will require approximately 40 percent; Europe and North America combined will need approximately 40 percent; and together, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and CIS will need the remaining 20 percent.
Many factors can drive the demand for replacement. Age is the primary one, but others include relative airplane economics, maintenance requirements, and the overall market environment. In recent years, high fuel costs have played a larger role in influencing decisions to remove airplanes from service, especially in the single-aisle category. On the other hand, the lack of availability of widebody airplanes has challenged airlines' ability to remove certain types from service as rapidly as desired.
In the next 10 years, the number of single-aisle and widebody airplanes entering the replacement zone will double. The number of single-aisle airplanes reaching 25 years of age has traditionally averaged 250 to 275 annually, but that figure will double to more than 500 by the beginning of the next decade. Meanwhile, the annual number of widebody airplanes reaching 25 years of age currently averages 100, but will increase to well over 200 annually by the beginning of the next decade. These numbers are in addition to the more than 1,400 single-aisle, widebody, and freighter airplanes still in service after more than 25 years.
To continue growing globally at the expected annual rate of nearly 5 percent, the airline industry needs an approximate net annual increase in fleet size of 4 percent, and an approximate replacement rate of 3 percent. Since fleet replacement is largely less optional than fleet growth, it provides a solid, stable base for long-term demand for new airplanes. The two largest fleet domiciles, Europe and North America, are expected to need well over 61 percent of their new deliveries to replace older, less-efficient airplanes, as are the mature Northeast Asia and Oceania regions, thereby balancing the growth across emerging and developing markets in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
Our long-term view of market demand is that airplane replacement will form 43 percent of demand during the next 20 years — a figure that has increased nearly every year as more fleets in emerging markets launch replacement cycles in the 20-year time frame.