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Although the full 2023 Commercial Market Outlook will be released just before the Paris Airshow later this month, Boeing already shared some market views this week during a pre-Paris media event in North Charleston. You can view the full presentation from Darren Hulst here, but here are the main observations. Boeing: single-aisles lead the recovery but widebodies are catching up.

Hulst, who is Vice President of Commercial Marketing, said that the passenger market is almost back at 2019 levels, with 97 percent of the fleet back in service and passenger capacity in available seat miles (ASM) nearing 95 percent this summer. In April, global traffic was at 90.5 percent, IATA confirmed on Thursday.

Single-aisle demand is leading the recovery. From this summer, single-aisle capacity will be eight percent up from pre-pandemic levels. Wide-body demand is tracking positively but is still -15 percent of 2019 levels, with regional demand further down at -29 percent.

Since the 2022 Farnborough Airshow, over 1.000 Boeing airliners have been ordered by airlines and lessors. Two-thirds or over 750 aircraft were in the single-aisle Boeing MAX category. 85 Percent of MAX orders are from airlines that already operate another version of the aircraft, with some having ordered three types. Hulst wouldn’t be surprised if a customer will have all four MAX versions in the fleet anytime soon, but publicly, he isn’t aware that any customer has ordered all of them yet.

Widebodies are catching up

Widebodies have been catching up, with Boeing itself taking orders for over 250 787s. There is momentum in all regions and across all aircraft families, Hulst said, as the market wants versatile and efficient twins. Quads will lose market share further more. Last year, ninety percent of widebody capacity were twins, with Boeing claiming a 64 percent share of this as it won many orders for the 787, 777F, 777X, and 767.

Some 45 Boeing customers operate more than one version of the 787, which underscores commonality and flexibility. Under half of the order book or 808 aircraft are repeat orders, with 54 of ninety customers being repeat customers.

Hulst said that Boeing will enhance the capabilities of the 787 next year, with an increased Maximum Take-Off Weight for the 787-9 and -10. This adds 4.6 tons to the payload capability of the -9 and 6.4 tons to that of the -10. Alternatively, it extends the range by 310 nautical miles for the former or 430nm to that of the latter.

While airlines prefer smaller twins, Boeing still sees strong demand for large twins like its 777X. Today, large twins with over 340 seats operate between 325 city pairs, which accounts for 25 percent of all widebody flights. It is a huge replacement market of over 1.000 aircraft through 2036 for which the 777-9 is a compelling offer.


Despite a temporary slowdown, Boeing is bullish on the full freighter demand. Over 300 freighters need to be replaced in the next six to eight years, some by converted aircraft but others by new aircraft like the 777-8F or the 777F and the 767-300F. Although new legislation no longer allows these two models to be sold after 2028.

Let’s wait for the full CMO. For reference, here are the 2022 numbers, when Boeing forecasted demand for 41.170 new aircraft over the next twenty years. Of these, 30.880 will be single aisles, 7.230 widebodies, 2.120 regional jets, and 940 full freighters. Over a ten-year period, demand is 19.575 aircraft. 

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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