International air traffic will recover to pre-pandemic levels and $8trn worth of new commercial jets will be ordered in the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s latest Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) report. 

Released ahead of this week’s Paris Air Show, the CMO also found that the global commercial fleet will double to over 48,500 jets by 2042, with airlines replacing half of the existing fleet with new, fuel-efficient models. 

According to senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing Brad McMullen, airlines will be matching the demands of the industry through actions such as simplifying their fleets to improve efficiency. 

“Looking to the future of air travel, our 2023 CMO reflects a further evolution of passenger traffic tied to the global growth of the middle class, investments in sustainability, continued growth for low-cost carriers and air cargo demand to serve evolving supply chains and express cargo delivery,” said McMullen.

The growth of the global fleet will largely be driven by single-aisle aeroplanes as they will account for 75% of all new deliveries according to the company’s research, with widebody jets making up a further 20%. 

Alongside global growth, Boeing’s report also looked at regional trends to discover that the Asia-Pacific market will continue to grow and eventually account for 40% of the global demand for aircraft, with China making up half of that percentage. 

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The demand from China matches a projected rise in air travel for the country as intra-China traffic is expected to finally overtake intra-North American traffic as the most valuable sector of the industry by 2042. 

Chinese airlines are expected to follow a similar growth, above the global average, accounting for 18% of global passenger traffic by the end of the forecast period, up from 15%. 

The strong growth forecast reflects Boeing’s own recent circumstances which have seen a steady flow of orders from airlines around the world, including a Ryanair order for at least 150 737 Max 10 jets and an Avolon order for 40 of the same model

Alongside looking at commercial operations, the CMO report also includes data on the air cargo and freighter sector which has seen strong post-pandemic growth thanks to a geographic diversification of supply chains. 

The report said: “The focus is evolving from a pre-pandemic emphasis on efficiency and cost to a more nuanced approach that balances these factors with the need for reliability and resiliency.”