A tectonic shift towards large narrowbody

Subscription Required By Vincent Valery Introduction

A321XLR. Source: Airbus.

Dec. 9, 2019, © Leeham News: There are now more firm orders for the Airbus A321neo than all the latest generation widebody programs combined: Airbus A330neo and A350, Boeing 787 and 777X. The largest Airbus narrowbody makes up 44% of all A320neo family orders, compared to 22% for the A320ceo family. After peaking in 2015, twin-aisle aircraft now represent a smaller portion of all deliveries. Boeing will lower the future Dreamliner production rate from 14 to 12 per month, while Airbus did not proceed with an A350 rate hike. Being at a later point in the cycle, economic slowdown, and trade tensions explain part of the lower demand for widebody aircraft. However, there are good reasons to believe something more fundamental is at play. LNA wrote a few months ago that Trans-Atlantic market fragmentation is hurting large widebody sales. This article analyzed the strategic shift occurring at numerous airlines that is hurting all twin-aisle sales, including the smaller A330neo and 787.
Summary
  • Late cycle and trade war hurt widebody demand;
  • Mitigating operating cost pressures on shorter routes;
  • Narrowbody capital efficiency cannibalizes widebody;
  • Monitoring the highest traffic growth region;
  • Consequences for future programs.

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