2021 fleet trends: small jets get bigger, bigger jets get smaller – and the old makes way for the new

Subscription Required By Judson Rollins
Introduction 
May 13, 2021, © Leeham News: Aviation data provider Cirium said last week that just under 7,850 commercial aircraft were still in storage, down from 8,684 at the beginning of the year and a peak of 16,522 at the apex of the COVID-19 crisis last April. Although there was an initial spike in aircraft retirements in March and April 2020, the total number has stayed in line with historical norms to date. However, order books for most types have stagnated or even gone backward since the start of the pandemic. A few trends are becoming clear: larger single-aisles are thriving, larger twin-aisles are disappearing, and sub-100-seat orders are flatlining. Not surprisingly, older-generation aircraft are disappearing at an accelerated rate.
Summary
  • Airlines are upgauging their single-aisle orders in anticipation of lower yields and competitive battles.
  • Widebody order books continue to struggle; the bigger the airplane, the worse the demand.
  • Regional jet and turboprop order backlogs have stagnated.

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