Boeing projects that the global coronavirus pandemic will result in 11% fewer new jets being delivered in the next decade compared to previous forecasts.
That’s about 2,200 fewer large aircraft built by all manufacturers, or 220 fewer per year on average. Those are mostly projected to be Airbus and Boeing jets but also include smaller regional jets and some built by up-and-coming competition in China.
The projection, part of Boeing’s annual 20-year forecast of total commercial jet industry demand, indicates the severity of the downturn in the aviation business, the challenges still ahead and a painfully slow path to recovery.
Boeing’s forecast, released Tuesday, assumes that the pandemic’s impact will hit hardest through the next three years.
Briefing journalists on the projections, Darren Hulst, vice president of commercial marketing at Boeing, said it will take that long for passenger traffic to recover to 2019 levels.
And he said it will be five years before traffic is back to where it would have been if COVID-19 hadn’t happened and the long-term trend of about 4% growth per year resumes.
For the past decade, passenger air traffic had been growing at about twice that pace and airlines were raking in cash. COVID-19 halted the boom.
Hulst said that annual passenger-traffic growth through 2024 will be about a third of what it had been in the boom decade — and starting from very depressed current traffic levels.
The latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) data shows passenger traffic in August down 75% worldwide compared to a year earlier. Domestic traffic was just less than half what it was in 2019, and international traffic was 12% of the level