Boeing has upgraded its forecasts for new aircraft orders in Oceania for the next two decades as airlines in the region replace older models with newer, more fuel efficient jets and shy away from large widebodies such as the 747-8 and Airbus A380.
The manufacturer’s outlook is for airlines in the region – Australia, New Zealand and the nations of the South Pacific – to order 1,020 new aircraft worth $US160 billion over the next 20 years.
The estimate, contained in Boeing’s Current Market Outlook (CMO) for 2016-2036, is an increase of 70 aircraft from the 950 expected for Oceania in the 2015-2034 CMO.
Two of the five aircraft categories – single aisle and medium widebody – were higher than the prior year.
By contrast, the latest CMO cut the forecast for the regional jets segment, which Boeing does not compete in but offers a forecast for, and large widebody segment (more than 400 seats) to zero. The estimate for small widebody (between 200-300 seats) orders was also reduced.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior vice president for sales in Asia Pacific and India Dinesh Keskar said very large aircraft such as the passenger variant of the Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380s were not required for airlines in the region.
Rather, airlines were likely to grow through adding new frequencies on existing routes and opening new markets rather than flying larger aircraft.
“We don’t think an airplane like the A380 would be needed in that market going forward,” Dr Keskar told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) annual gathering in Manila on Friday.
“In fact Qantas is dealing with a situation where they have deferred their A380s and we don’t think in that market anybody is going to touch the A380.”
Boeing has regarded the very large aircraft segment as a small market, believing just a handful of airlines around the world had the route structures and capabilities to successfully utilise an aircraft with more than 400 seats.
Sales of both the A380 and 747-8 have been slow.
The A380 ended a three-year order drought earlier in 2016 when ANA said it would purchase three of the type and Iran Air indicated it would purchase 12.
Meanwhile, Boeing has reduced the production rate of the latest version of the 747, reflecting both the lack of demand for very large passenger aircraft and the weakness in the global cargo market.
Boeing expected the Oceania fleet to increase from 520 to 1,050 over the next 20 years, with some 520 aircraft replaced and 500 new aircraft joining the fleet for growth. Just 30 aircraft flying today will still be in the skies in two decades’ time.
Dr Keskar noted the average age of the fleet in the region had fallen from about 19 years in 2005 to 15 years in 2010 and 10 years in 2015.
“That is a significant improvement,” Dr Keskar said.
“The fleet modernisation is continuing.”
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