Higher fares set to squeeze air travel growth

World aircraft fleet will almost double in 20 years, says Irish lessor Avolon

Travellers face higher fares in coming years as green taxes and aircraft shortages increase the cost of flying, an Irish aviation group said on Tuesday.

Aircraft lessor Avolon predicts that the number of passenger planes in the world will almost double to 46,880 as demand for travel continues to increase.

Passenger demand will rise by around 3.5 per cent annually, says the company’s World Fleet Forecast, published on Tuesday.

Avolon predicts, however, that environmental taxes and a shortage of aircraft will boost air fares so expansion will lag the 5 per cent to 6 per cent rates of the last two decades.

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The report blames the slow recovery in aircraft production for the shortage.

The lessor also notes that there will be less scope to deregulate markets, which helped drive growth over the last 20 years.

The Dublin-based company calculates that the 44,300 new passenger jets that manufacturers are likely to deliver to airlines over the next two decades will cost $4 trillion (€3.7 trillion).

Globally, airlines own 24,180 passenger aircraft but 21,600 will be taken out of service over the next 20 years, leaving a net total of 46,880.

Avolon believes this will provide companies in its business with opportunities to aid airlines in financing growth.

Andy Cronin, Avolon’s chief executive, said: “Emerging markets and their growing middle class underpin our forecast for continued expansion of the global fleet.”

The Dublin-based company combines its own cash with borrowings to buy aircraft from manufacturers, mainly Airbus and Boeing, which it leases to airlines around the world, generating revenue from the rent they pay for the planes.

Those manufacturers will continue to dominate the market, according to Avolon. European player Airbus will lead the way in the market for narrow-body aircraft, used on short-haul routes, and so most flown by airlines.

These models include the Airbus A320s flown by Aer Lingus and the Boeing 737s favoured by Ryanair.

Airbus will provide 58 per cent of the total narrow-body fleet of 34,320 by 2042, Avolon says.

That will be the fastest growing market, with the number of aircraft in this category more than doubling over 20 years from 16,220 in 2022.

Boeing, maker of the 787, will continue to lead the way in wide-body planes used by airlines on long-haul journeys.

The US giant will be responsible for 59 per cent of the 7,480 such planes in service by 2042, according to Avolon, which says there are 3,800 wide-body passenger aircraft flying now.

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