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Boeing raises 20-year sales forecast by 2.8pct, but worldwide fleet size tipped to fall

10-Jul-2008
  • Long-term cargo growth rate trimmed;
  • More single-aisle sales seen, at the expense of RJs;
  • Smaller worldwide fleet expected in 20 years, as airlines remove older aircraft;
  • Boeing typically bullish overall, confident in resilience of aviation.

Boeing has released its 2008-2027 Current Market Outlook ahead of the Farnborough Air Show, predicting the world’s airlines will acquire 29,400 new aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at USD3.2 trillion. Average annual passenger and cargo growth of 5.0% and 5.8% is expected over the forecast period, respectively. More than 30% of the forecast deliveries are already in manufacturer backlogs, as a result of strong orders over the last three years.

Evolution of Boeing’s 20-year forecasts: Total deliveries

Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & Boeing Current Market Outlook reports

Last year’s 20-year forecast predicted 28,600 new aircraft deliveries, valued at USD2.8 trillion. The passenger traffic growth forecast in last year’s outlook was also 5%, while cargo was expected to grow by 6.1% - indicating some of the recent softness in freight markets is reflected in Boeing’s long-term outlook for the segment.

According to Boeing, the influence of current market conditions is clearly reflected in the 2008 outlook, “with replacement airplanes taking a greater share of demand (43%) than previously forecast (36%) - due to the loss of economic viability of older aircraft in light of higher fuel costs”. Increasing urgency by airlines to replace older, less efficient aircraft will see the total worldwide fleet rise from 19,000 to 35,800 aircraft by the end of 2027 – 600 units less than the forecast last year (by the end of 2026).

The aircraft size breakdowns show Boeing evolving view on the shape of the aviation market over the next 20 years. The manufacturer continues to see a much smaller regional sector than previously envisaged, as airlines “up-gauge" to single-aisles, due to capacity, economic and environmental constraints. Just 2,510 regional jets are now expected to be delivered to airlines over the next 20 years – down a massive 32% on last year’s forecast.

Evolution of Boeing’s 20-year forecasts: Regional jets

Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & Boeing Current Market Outlook reports

Over 19,000 single-aisle aircraft will be required, according to Boeing - up 8.6% on last year’s outlook.

Evolution of Boeing’s 20-year forecasts: Single-aisles

Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & Boeing Current Market Outlook reports

Approximately 6,750 twin-aisle deliveries are expected, up 7.3% on last year's 20-year outlook.

Evolution of Boeing’s 20-year forecasts: Twin-aisles

Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & Boeing Current Market Outlook reports

Boeing has increased its outlook for very large aircraft ('B747 and larger') by 20 units (+2.1%) from last year, to 980.

Evolution of Boeing’s 20-year forecasts: B747 & larger

Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & Boeing Current Market Outlook reports

Boeing is expecting an increasing share of aircraft deliveries to the Asia Pacific region, as well as the Middle East, Latin America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, resulting in a “much more geographically balanced and more stable long-term market, which is less vulnerable to swings in regional economies or other variations in demand”.

Overall, the manufacturer is typically upbeat, despite the problems currently facing the sector. VP Marketing, Randy Tinseth concluded, “over the more than 40 years that Boeing has been forecasting the commercial aviation market, we've experienced other challenges with their own dynamics and their own impact on global air travel. What we've learned is that our industry, which is based on the need to transport passengers and freight via our global aviation system, is extremely resilient”.


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