Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, has published its World Fleet Forecast – Return to Growth – projecting trends in the commercial passenger aviation fleet out to 2042.
It forecasts the fleet will almost double by 2042, growing 94% to 46,880 aircraft, underpinned by sustained growth in demand for air travel, building on the rapid recovery experienced since the pandemic.
Avolon estimates that over $4 trillion will be required to finance the 44,300 new passenger commercial aircraft to be delivered over the next 20 years, providing a considerable opportunity for lessors to partner with airlines globally to finance their growth ambitions.
Continued rise in passenger demand
Overall, the Avolon report projects the continued rise in global demand for air travel, driven in part by emerging economies in the Southeast Asian and Latin American regions.
Passenger demand will continue to rise by around 3.5% per annum from a 2019 base, but the pace of expansion will be lower than the 5-6% of the previous 20 years due to reduced potential for further deregulation to drive growth, and higher fares because of aircraft supply shortages and increasing sustainability levies.
The biggest growth driver will be new middle-class consumers, particularly in India, South-East Asia and Latin America.
Aviation and sustainability
Aviation is confronting the challenge of decoupling growth from environmental impact. Trillions of dollars of new investment will be required to fund the required transition to new-technology lower emissions aircraft.
Attendant with this is the ramping up of the supply of sustainable aviation fuel, and the exploration of new designs that pioneer alternative energy sources.
Aircraft lessors will play a key role in accelerating fleet renewal, and a growing industry will attract the capital required to hit aviation’s net zero target by 2050.
Avolon’s World Fleet Forecast is available here, and the key takeaways include:
The regions showing the biggest increase in travel out to 2042 will be India (4.4%), China (3.7%), Asia (5.0%) and Latin America (4.9%). Mature markets such as North America (2.0%) and Europe (3.1%) will continue to grow, although at a more moderate rate.
44,300 new aircraft will be delivered over the period and 21,600 aircraft will exit the passenger fleet through decommissioning at the end of their economic life or freighter conversion.
Growth of the narrowbody fleet (112%) will outpace widebody fleet growth (97%) as single-aisle aircraft are able to accommodate more passengers and trans-continental flight distances. Regional Jet (11%) and Turboprop (36%) growth will be more modest.
The global fleet will have transitioned to largely (95%) new-technology fuel-efficient aircraft by the end of the forecast period
Airbus is set to maintain its strong market position in the narrowbody segment accounting for 58% of the global narrowbody fleet in 2042, compared to 53% currently.
Boeing will maintain its 59% share leadership of the widebody segment, with the resumption of 787 deliveries a key driver.
Supply constraints currently being experienced will continue into the second half of the decade, increasing the value of booked production slots and aircraft that have already been delivered. Those airlines that have not secured sufficient capacity will rely on lessors for new and used aircraft.