Tag Archives: Flight International

Aircraft market forecasts accuracy

In a previous post I wrote about how the predicted average aircraft size by Boeing in 1990 did not match the actual evolution of that average size since then. In a more general context, how accurate are these aircraft market forecasts? Especially taking into account that they forecast along a 20-year period.

I dug in the archives and found an article in Flight International‘s issue of 10-16 March 1993 which compared Airbus’ GMF and Boeing’s CMO (you can find 2012 comparison here). Some excerpts from that article:

  • “Boeing is projecting deliveries of 12,005 aircraft, worth $815 billion at current values, from 1993 to 2010.”
  • (Boeing) “The trend towards larger aircraft will accelerate so that, although single-aisle types will account for about two-thirds of all deliveries, they will comprise 74% of those up to 2000 and only 60% beyond.”
  • “Airbus Industrie has released an upbeat forecast, predicting market demand for 11,653 new jet airliners to be delivered during 1992-2011, up from the 11,500 deliveries predicted in 1991.”
  • (Airbus) “The manufacturer foresees an accelerating demand for widebodied aircraft, driving average airliner size from today’s 176 seats to 255 seats in 20 years.”
  • (Airbus) “The global jet-airliner fleet will grow to 10,000 by 1998 and to almost 15,000 by 2011.

Now, let’s see what was the fleet at the end of 2011. Seeing Airbus’ Global Market Forecast from 2012, the departing numbers are those of 2011 fleet.

  • Passenger aircraft: 15,556 a/c.
  • Freighter aircraft: 1,615 a/c.

Thus, 17,171 a/c at the end 0f 2011. The GMF from 1992 underestimated the 20-year market by slightly above 2,100 or nearly 15% error. Not a bad shot taking into account the time span used.

Let’s take a more recent example, this time from Boeing. In the CMO from 1997, we find the following chart showing Boeing’s forecasted fleet size and distribution for 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 year-ends.

1997 Boeing CMO year-end fleet forecasts for 2001, 2006, 2011 & 2016.

In 2012 CMO, Boeing offered figures of 2011 year-end fleet.

Fleet at year end 2011 according to Boeing 2012 CMO.

We can make a quick comparison:

Comparison of aircraft fleet at year-end 2011: 1997 forecast vs. actual (sources: Boeing CMO 1997 and 2012).

Some reflections:

  • The total fleet figure was missed only by 1%.
  • The single-aisle figure was missed only by 2%, though less larger single-aisle were acquired than expected.
  • Where the forecast is off mark is in both regional jets (underestimated) and twin-aisle, where there are almost 1,800 less aircraft in the current fleet than forecasted… another reason for Boeing to play down on A380 segment.


NOTE: Figures of current fleet from Boeing and Airbus differ. Some causes: Airbus does not include figures for regional jets, and definitions between large aircraft and twin-aisle vary from one company to the other. Other than that, figures for freighters are similar, 1,615 (A) vs. 1,740 (B), as they are for passenger single-aisles, 12,161 (A) vs 12,030 (B).


Filed under Aerospace & Defence

What is the price of an A380?

Yesterday, it appeared in Flight International website, an article in which the price of an A380 was unveiled. Generally, aircraft real prices are never disclosed, that is why that was news. What it is normally published is the list prices for the different aircraft (here you may see Boeing’s list).

The article disclosed the price for an A380 acquired by Nimrod Capital LLC, which is to lease it to Emirates. The price: 234m$. Since the list price for the A380 is 375m$, that means it was purchased with a 38% discount, as the article says.

For obvious reasons, I will not comment on Airbus prices (*). Here, I just wanted to mention that, using a quite detailed approach, some time ago, I calculated which were Boeing’s discounts. I explained everything in a post.

I used the number of aircraft delivered per year, the net orders per year, all for a period of three consecutive years, and matched the list prices versus the revenues recognised in the yearly income statement published by the company in each of those years… I figured out which was the discount that minimized errors for the period of three years. Guess what was the result I came up with: 38% for the period 2007-2009 and 39% for the period 2008-2010.

(*) Disclaimer: I have never worked in anything related to aircraft pricing, sales or marketing in Airbus. Thus, I have no insider clue about its prices.

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Filed under Aerospace & Defence