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Long-term commercial airline fleet growth observed

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STRONG FORECAST This file photo shows an airport ground worker standing near a Qantas Airbus A350-1000 in a hangar at Sydney International Airport on May 2, 2022. AFP PHOTO

NEW YORK: The pandemic has not fundamentally changed the long-term growth outlook for commercial aviation, with jets surging 82% through 2041, according to a Boeing forecast released on Saturday (Manila Sunday).

The company expects a total global fleet of 47,080 over the next two decades, up from 25,900 in 2019, with half of deliveries replacing planes that will be retired, Boeing said in its annual business outlook.

The forecast comes days after a similar outlook from rival Airbus and ahead of the major Farnborough Airshow.

That’s down slightly from the fleet of 49,405 jets in Boeing’s previous long-term outlook, reflecting a slight reduction in the company’s forecast annual global gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.6. %.

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But the long-term fundamentals “remain intact,” with demand for passenger and cargo traffic outpacing global GDP, Boeing said in its powerpoint.

“In 2022, demand is no longer the main constraint because people can travel,” said Darren Hulst, Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing.

The current market is dominated by a “tremendous amount of pent-up demand”, he said. “The main constraint is supply.”

The global fleet of single-aisle aircraft, which are used for domestic flights, is back to 98% of its pre-pandemic level, while multi-aisle aircraft, which are used for international flights, are at 78% .

The initial trend of the return of the aviation industry after the Covid-19 crisis favored domestic travel. But Boeing pointed to a change that is underway.

Domestic travel in China plummeted with several rounds of Covid-19 restrictions, while growth in Europe and the United States was hit by capacity constraints.

Meanwhile, the international recovery “is currently exceeding expectations led by transatlantic flights,” Boeing’s powerpoint said.

Boeing also said growth in e-commerce will fuel increased demand for cargo planes, which is expected to jump 80% in 2041.

Hulst said the planemaker is also adding more capacity to meet tougher low-carbon standards.