Airbus’ North American Global Market Forecast


The 2015-2034 Airbus Global Market Forecast estimates that 5,544 new deliveries will be needed in North America to replace a fleet that is older than the world average (3,631 aircraft) and to meet traffic growth (1,913 aircraft). Deliveries will comprise 4,733 single-aisle, 776 twin-aisle and 35 very-large aircraft.

Renewing an Ageing Fleet

After decades of growth of the North American fleet in service in both single-aisle and twin-aisle segments, a decrease was observed during the 2000’s – a decade characterized by  9/11 and the 2009 global financial crisis. During this period airlines applied strict capacity control to their operations to see them through these difficult times. With the return of profitability since 2010, together with a favorable economic environment, a new era has begun, with the increase of the number of single-aisle aircraft and the stabilization of the number of twin-aisles servicing the market. Together with positive developments in fleet size, there is also a trend towards the rejuvenation of the fleet. However, at the end of 2014, the average age of single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft in service was still around 12 and 15 years respectively compared to world average around 9 and 10 years. As a result, fully one half of the North American fleet is aged 13 and above; a driver for the fleet replacement activity we have been witnessing in recent years and a trend that is likely to continue.

North American Economy

Amongst mature advanced economies, North America will remain the growth leader, thanks to a combination of favorable factors including abundant natural resources, highly developed financial institutions, rapid immigrant absorption, huge market size, science and technology leadership, and a tremendous capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship. US real GDP growth is forecast to average 2.5% per year in the 2014-2034 period, with greater business fixed investment and R&D spending offsetting the slowdown in labor force growth. By 2034, North America will still account for 21% of World economy (in real terms).

Traffic Flows

The domestic U.S. air transport market, the largest single market today, will remain enormous and is forecast to be the second biggest flow in the world with 90 billion RPKs by 2034. Traffic between the U.S. and China is forecast to be the most dynamic of the North American regional flows, with an average yearly growth of 7.3%. Growth at this level doubles traffic every decade. Traffic between Canada and China will also grow at an impressive pace of 6.7% per year over the next 20 years. Airbus forecast that over the next 20 years more than 400 million additional passengers, more than the entire population of the U.S., will take off or land in North America, representing a 3.4% increase in RPKs per year.