82% more aircraft in service by 2041, Boeing predicts

(New York) The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t curbed a growing appetite for air travel, and the number of planes worldwide is expected to grow 82% over the next 20 years, Boeing estimated on Sunday.

Posted at 7:17pm

The world fleet from all manufacturers combined is expected to reach 47,080 aircraft in 2041, compared to 25,900 in 2019, the group said in an annual report released on the eve of the opening of the Farnborough Air Show in the UK.

That’s slightly lower than last year’s forecast of 49,405 aircraft in 2040, as Boeing revised downwards its forecast for annual global economic growth (+2.6% instead of +2.7% on average). As a result, the number of passengers is likely to grow less than expected (+3.8% instead of +4.0%).

On the downside, it’s slightly more than Airbus’ latest forecasts, presented on Monday, which see the world fleet reaching 46,930 aircraft in 2041, up from 22,880 in service in 2020.

Boeing now expects all manufacturers to deliver 42,710 new aircraft over the next twenty years (41,170 excluding the very uncertain Russian market), or 900 fewer than last year’s forecast.

“In 2022, demand is no longer the main constraint (to growth of the aerospace market) as people can travel again,” said Darren Hulst, Boeing’s head of commercial marketing, during a briefing with experts and journalists. “It’s Supply” with all the supply chain issues and staff shortages.

The global fleet of single-aisle aircraft, which are used more for domestic services, has already returned to 98% of pre-pandemic levels. That of jumbo jets destined for international travel is 78%. But the dynamic is changing fast.

For example, the resumption of domestic air travel is currently being hampered by health restrictions in China and capacity issues in Europe.

The recovery in international flights, on the other hand, is faster than initially expected.

With the explosion of online commerce, the trend toward airplanes for transporting goods is accelerating even further: Boeing predicts that the fleet of cargo planes will grow by 80% by 2041.

The manufacturer takes into account a little more new constraints related to sustainable development every year, such as the price of sustainable aviation fuel or possible new carbon taxes, Darren Hulst also pointed out. How much will these measures really affect the market? “It’s still largely unknown,” he said.

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