Is the average aircraft size decreasing or increasing by 25%?

Last year, I wrote a post (Aircraft average size: Boeing’s forecast in 1990 and following evolution) in which I compared what was Boeing’s prediction in 1990 of what was going to be the commercial aircraft average size evolution in the next 15 years versus the same prediction in 1997 and what had been the actual evolution through 2011, as reflected in Boeing’s 2012 Current Market Outlook (CMO).

See the graphics below:

Average aircraft size forecast made in 1990.

Average aircraft size evolution 1991-2011, according to Boeing 2012 CMO.

As I mentioned above, the information of actual evolution was provided by Boeing in 2012’s CMO.

This year (2013), Airbus seems to have responded by providing the same piece of information in its Global Market Forecast (GMF), see the picture below:

Average aircraft size evolution 1992-2012, according to Airbus.

Average aircraft size evolution 1992-2012, according to Airbus 2013 GMF.

The catch then is: is the average aircraft size decreasing (as Boeing says) or increasing by 25% (as Airbus says)?

The best part of the catch is that both cite the same source of information, OAG (Official Airline Guide).

The reader will obviously reach to the conclusion that both companies cannot be taking the same segmentation and that they are using the reported trend to convey an interested message.

After, having seen the number plays that Boeing has recently done in their CMO with the mix of wide-bodies widely changing from year to year in order to promote 787 or 777 (which explained in this post), I take the stand to take with grain of salt the graphic provided by Boeing, and thus, unless I see the numbers by myself, I will understand that average aircraft size has been growing since the 1990s (1).

(1) The funny thing of understanding that the correct interpretation is the one of Airbus (average size has grown by 25%) is that this would mean that Boeing’s own prediction in 1990 would have been proven correct! 🙂

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