The great news that the 737 MAX, grounded since March 2019, has received FAA authorization to re-enter US airline service (with other regulators to follow in due-course) provides the opportunity to look at the current 737NG, 737 MAX, and A320ceo/neo family fleet status. Since the MAX grounding, airlines currently have less need for new aircraft given many parked aircraft. That said, the ~10-15% fuel savings (even at today’s low fuel prices) compared to previous generation aircraft that the MAX and neo offer, along with warranty benefits and reduced maintenance requirements, aren’t to be dismissed. The MAX and neo also offer an increased range that allows airlines to fly the aircraft on longer sectors (e.g., transatlantic), perhaps better matching reduced COVID-related long-haul travel demand that has so impacted widebody aircraft. Norwegian, Air Transat, jetBlue, TAP, Aer Lingus, and others are (or will be) doing just that. This puts further pressure on older passenger widebody aircraft such as A330s and 767s.
The MAX’s troubles have been well written and have impacted the order book, with Boeing receiving 800+ cancellations. As of November, there are ~3,966 737 MAX on order. That is about 58% of the NEO backlog. Given the disparity between the MAX and neo order books, it’s likely that the 50:50 narrowbody duopoly observed over the past decade is likely to shift in favor of Airbus. It’s probable that once deliveries to operators begin again, it will take ~18 months to clear those aircraft already produced (but not delivered), then deliveries of aircraft from the production line can once again.
Date: March 29 , 2022
Air Transport Aircraft Retirements Update
The air transport aircraft retirement tsunami that was expected has, so far, failed to materialize. 2021 saw the lowest official retirements since 2007, with only ~429 aircraft being recognized as being officially ret...
Date: November 23 , 2021
Tracking the Air Transport Utilization Recovery
April 2020 marked the low point in air transport fleet utilization. Since then, aircraft flying hours have been steadily increasing. However, the speed of the recovery has varied by size of aircraft (e.g., narrowbod...
Date: March 12 , 2021
Reviewing 2020 Aircraft Retirements
So, how many air transport aircraft retired in 2020? Thousands? Nope. 2020 did not yield the thousands of retirements that had been feared. Though the final tally will be subject to revision in the coming months, so f...