Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Thu July 21 2016

Boeing: World's Fleet Size Will Double in 20 Years

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | July 21, 2016

Boeing: World's Fleet Size Will Double in 20 Years

PHOTO: A Boeing 747 (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

Boeing’s newest 20-year Current Market Outlook report suggests that demand for new airplanes will grow significantly over the next two decades. Certain models of commercial planes will be in especially high demand. 

This new forecast predicts that, worldwide, the air travel industry will need 39,600 new airplanes between now and 2035. Boeing puts the value of these new planes at $5.9 trillion. 

Global growth

The report highlights the fact that the airline industry is developing all around the world. Boeing predicts that 38 percent of new airplanes will be delivered to airlines in Asia. 40 percent will be delivered to carriers based in the United States or Europe, and the remaining 22 percent will be ordered by airlines in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. 

Certain types of planes will be in high demand in the coming years. Boeing predicts that a huge majority of new orders, more than 28,000, will be for single-aisle planes. Approximately 9,100 wide-body planes will also need to be produced by 2035. 

A boom for airlines and manufacturers

The airplane manufacturing industry is set to grow because demand for air travel is about to increase exponentially.

According to Boeing, there were currently 22,510 jet airplanes in service in 2015. By 2035, the worldwide jet fleet will more than double to 45,240 planes. To achieve this number, the industry will have to not only add new aircraft, but also replace older aircraft. Replacements should account for about 43 percent of new airplane orders. 

Boeing expects demand for its single-aisle 737 MAX to be especially high in the coming years. This is because airlines want the reliability of the 737 and they are also attracted to the fuel efficiency of the newest models. 

READ MORE: Don’t Dismiss the Boeing 747 Just Yet

Other organizations are also predicting dramatic growth

Boeing’s projections provide yet more support for the prediction of exponential growth in the air travel industry. IATA projections contend that more than seven billion passengers will be flying annually by 2035. 

Airbus also recently released its market forecast for the next two decades. The French plane manufacturer predicts that 33,000 new passenger and cargo aircraft will be needed by 2035. That is not quite as high as Boeing’s forecast, but is still a significant number. Airbus expects manufacturers to earn about $5.2 trillion over the next 20 years. 

Airplane manufacturers should be busy over the next two decades as they scramble to get a larger piece of the growing market. There will be plenty of business to go around, but plane makers who can produce more efficient, more reliable aircraft should come out ahead and earn more than their share of the $5 trillion-plus that will be up for grabs. 


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