Demand is soaring in the commercial aviation industry, as passenger air travel rebounds from pandemic lows. More travel combined with aging planes has the industry strategizing future fleet needs, explain partners Frank Coleman and Vik Krishnan and coauthors. Depending on economic performance in the sector, aircraft demand could range from about 5,000 to more than 11,000 in the next few years.

Demand for aircraft would exceed the order backlog in the resurgent- growth scenario.

Image description

Silhouette-style illustrations display, proportionally, 3 different commercial aircraft types: narrow body, wide body, and regional. The illustrations sit above a bar chart displaying potential global sales numbers in 4 different scenarios, from left to right: the 2023–27 orderbook (9,402 planes), the continued residence scenario (~7,100 planes), the recession-driven slowdown scenario (~5,200 planes), and the resurgent-growth scenario (~11,600 planes). Each scenario also includes a breakdown of figures for each of the 3 aircraft types. Regardless of scenario, ~80–90% of sales are in narrow-body aircraft.

Footnote 1: Firm passenger aircraft orders.

Source: Cirium order backlog; McKinsey analysis

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To read the article, see “Planning for uncertainty in commercial aerospace,” February 15, 2023.