According to a new report, the 2020 Cirium Fleet Forecast, published by Ascend by Cirium, the world will need US$2.8 trillion (£2.1 trillion) worth of new aircraft over the next 20 years, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report predicts that 43,315 new passenger and freighter aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2039. That figure represents an 8% drop compared to the 20-year outlook in the 2019 Cirium Fleet Forecast and includes some 4,600 fewer deliveries in the next decade.
Flying hours will also fall by 45% in 2020 to 94 million, compared to 170 million in 2019. However, the use of more fuel efficient aircraft this year means that total CO2 emissions are likely to fall by 50%. Over the next 20 years, total flying hours will increase to 310 million.
Asian markets will be the growth engine for the global aviation industry during the next two decades. China looks to be the biggest single destination for new commercial and passenger aircraft deliveries between 2020 and 2039, with a 22% share – one point ahead of the rest of Asia combined.
The share of deliveries to Europe will drop 4%, from the 20% we see now to 16% by 2039. This still means that over 7,000 new aircraft will be delivered to European airlines over the two decades.
Only 6% of new aircraft will be delivered to the Middle East, however as these deliveries comprise higher levels of twin-aisle aircraft, the region will account for 10% of the total value of deliveries.
Looking long-term, reaching the forecast traffic growth will require the global passenger fleet to increase by just over 20,000 units. That equates to a 2.9% annual growth rate, taking the fleet to some 47,000 aircraft by the end of 2039.
This still represents a reduction of some 5,000 aircraft (10%) over the numbers forecast in the 2019 Cirium Fleet Forecast, reflecting the loss of growth during the post-pandemic years.
The single-aisle fleet will grow faster at 3.5% annually, against 2.7% for twin-aisles due to long-haul traffic taking longer to recover. The regional aircraft fleet will grow more modestly at just over 1%.
About 82% of the current fleet is forecast to be retired from passenger service during the 20-year period, with 74% for freighters, which have longer economic useful lives. Overall there will be over 21,600 retirements. The freighter fleet will grow by at almost 2% annually to reach 4,100 aircraft.
By Alireza Onghaei