Looking at the history of the commercial airline fleet since 2000, we can see an interesting trend. For several years now the percentage (red line) of parked aircraft has been slowly falling. It dropped sharply last year. This last happened in 2005. The data suggests the growth in the industry is robust – at least as robust as we hear at ISTAT and every OEM briefing. It has been a long supercycle and it still looks good.
Breaking down the numbers by world region we see another distinct change. Asia/Pacific has risen from 16% of the in-service fleet to over 30% – growing from 2,158 to 7,915. The USA has gone from being the largest market (4,686) to number two (6,069). Europe went from 3,234 to 5,272 aircraft and saw its share fall as well.
Of great interest to us was looking at the average age of these fleets. With the deliveries ongoing and making news, one expects that the fleets are young. Well, not quite. The fleet was aging even as it was growing. Then came the oil shock which drove an order frenzy. Deliveries came in and the average age dropped. But then Jet-A prices dropped too and looked to stay weak. So, it appears, airlines moved the older planes back into service.
The following table lays out the average fleet age by world region. The age profile rises across the board from 2015.
Fascinating items that generate several questions.