According to a report by Oliver Wyman, the number of commercial aircraft in the world fleet is expected to grow by 33% over the next decade, reaching over 36,000 by 2033. This represents an annual growth rate of 2.9%.
The current number of aircraft in the world fleet is almost 27,400, nearly the same as the number in January 2020 before the pandemic caused a significant decrease in passenger air transport.
The worldwide aircraft fleet has experienced a significant growth rebound. In response to increasing demand, airlines retired old planes and added new ones in 2022. As a result, by early 2023, the fleet had reached 98% of its pre-pandemic size.
Thus, a record number of aircraft deliveries to airlines are expected in the next ten years, despite current supply chain constraints. The consultancy forecasts the delivery of 20,600 new aircraft in the next decade, the narrowest body, where demand is most significant.
Aviation faced several challenges last year, including labor shortages across all sectors and regions of aviation. In North America, for example, it is estimated that the industry already experiences a need for more commercial airline pilots and aircraft mechanics at 18% and 14%, respectively.
In Europe, ground staff shortages have been so severe by 2022 that some airports, such as London's Heathrow and Amsterdam's Schiphol, have imposed capacity limits. Overall, the data indicate that the industry needs more commercial airline pilots and aircraft mechanics.
On the other hand, climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly important issues in the aviation industry. As a result, several European countries are working on legislation to ban air travel between distances reached by train within 2.5 hours.
One of the challenges in the aviation industry is the need for more production capacity for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF produces 50% to 80% less emissions than traditional aviation fuel.
SAF is currently a costly alternative; even in the best-case scenario, its supply by 2030 could be only 5.4 billion gallons. However, the aviation industry would require 16 billion gallons of SAF to maintain airline emissions at 2019 levels.