Airlines around the world are predicted to spend around US$2.8 trillion on new aircraft by 2039 despite the current COVID-19 crisis, according to Cirium, the travel industry data and analytics company.
Worldwide deliveries during 2020 are expected to be 45 percent lower than in 2019, but it's predicted the industry will recover enough to spend the nearly NZ$4 trillion total over the next two decades.
Asian markets will be the growth engine for the global aviation industry, accounting for an expected 43 percent of deliveries.
The 2020 Cirium Fleet Forecast predicts that 43,315 new passenger and freighter aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2039. This represents an 8 percent drop compared to the 20 year outlook in the 2019 Cirium Fleet Forecast and includes some 4600 fewer deliveries in the next decade.
Cirium Head of Marketing and Analysis Chris Seymour says COVID-19 has put a handbrake on the speedy growth of aviation over the past few years.
"Following 10 consecutive years of uninterrupted demand growth, the 2020 COVID-19 crisis has led to a dramatic reduction in global traffic and record industry losses," Seymour said.
"Worldwide deliveries during 2020 are expected to be 45 percent lower than in 2019. However, the numbers will gradually recover and surpass the previous peak [in 2018] during 2025, assuming traffic bounces back as predicted."
Engine flying hours - the time an aircraft spends airborne - will also fall by 45 percent in 2020 to 94 million, compared to 170 million in 2019.
However, the use of more efficient aircraft such as Boeing 787 Dreamliners and the Airbus A350 means that total CO2 emissions are likely to be down by 50 percent. Over the next 20 years, total engine flying hours will increase to 310 million.
The research team expects travel in 2021 to be approximately 60-70 percent down on 2019 numbers, slowly recovering to pre-COVID capacity in 2024.
"It is clear that, for the foreseeable future, there will remain substantially more supply of aircraft than there is demand. This includes supply of new-build aircraft, mid-life assets returned to lessors, or aircraft simply parked by their airline owners," Richard Evans, Cirium’s Senior Consultant said.
"It also seems obvious that there will eventually be many airline failures, especially among smaller, non-government-backed carriers,' he said.