Global airplane fleet to grow to 39,000 by 2030

18 February 2020 2 min. read
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The global plane fleet is expected to grow by a 3.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach 39,000 aircraft by 2030, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman’s annual Global Fleet & MRO Forecast.

Despite rising passenger demand, the global aviation industry faces challenges such as slower economic growth, increased air transport congestion, trade issues, and climate change-related pressure.

Manufacturers are expected to produce over 21,000 aircraft, at an annual average of 2,100 – 30% more than the average production in the previous decade. Asia is expected to drive most of the growth, as China’s fleet is projected to double by 2030. Boeing’s 737 MAX and Airbus’ A320neo will account for most of the new aircraft deliveries, despite the issues with the 737 MAX.

Global fleet forecast by aircraft class, 2020-2030

In last year’s report, Oliver Wyman projected 1,400 MAX planes to be in service by 2020, but the 2019 grounding and production halt will reduce that number to between 150 and 700. The plane still has to pass various re-certification requirements, as well as train pilots on new updates.

The 737 MAX challenges mean that there will be up to 45% fewer MAXes in service in 2022 than was projected in last year’s report.

“Even with these challenges, along with some expected slowing in the growth rate of passenger demand as well as changes in the mix of traditional freight and ecommerce freight, the industry should still see solid fleet growth in both passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 10 years,” said Tom Cooper, Oliver Wyman vice president and lead author of the report.

Of the 21,000 aircraft produced in the next decade, most will continue to be of the narrowbody variety. Narrowbody planes will also see the highest CAGR increase in production, at 5.1%, while turboprops and regional jets will see declines of 1.8% and 2.5% in CAGR, respectively.

The report also expects that fleet growth will drive increased demand for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services. An aging global fleet will also have a positive effect on MRO services growth, with there currently being 2.5 times more aircraft over the age of 25 in use than in 2010.

MRO services are expected to grow to $130 billion in 2030 from $90 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth of 3.7%. The engine category is projected to continue being the driving force in MRO services growth.