Transport Airlines

Low-Cost Carriers Drive Growth in Southeast Asian Aviation

Jul 24, 2014 11:00 am

Skift Take

Short-haul and fuel efficient planes are fueling the region’s growth and forcing destinations to rethink their transportation networks.

— Jason Clampet

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Binder.donedat  / Flickr

A Nok Air plane see at the gate at Krabi Airport in Thailand. Binder.donedat / Flickr


Southeast Asia is likely to need more jetliners the size of Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s 320 over the next two decades.

That jet size could dominate the region’s orders for new civil jet aircraft from 2014-33 due to the proliferation of low-cost carriers (LCCs) and intra-regional travel, as those aircraft types serve that type of travel.

The region is expected to need 2,160 jets, each seating around 160 and with a flying range of up to four hours. They would be valued at US$210 billion, said Patty Rhodes, regional director for product marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Single-aisle jets represent 70% of all projected aircraft sales in the region, numbering 3,080 over the period and accounting for 46% of sales value at $450 billion.

Small wide-body aircraft with 200-300 seats follow in demand with 490 units valued at $120 billion. Medium wide-body jets with 300-400 seats should see demand of 290 units at $100 million, while regional jets with 90 seats or fewer would see 90 orders at less than $10 billion. Large wide-body jets with 400-plus seats are estimated at 50 orders at $20 billion.

Ms Rhodes said 2,380 of the 3,080 new jetliners in Southeast Asia are needed for incremental air travel demand envisaged over the period, with 700 meant to replace old aircraft. The 20-year period should see airlines in the region retain 410 aircraft in service.

Boeing issued its latest aircraft market forecast last week, projecting demand for 36,770 new aeroplanes in the next two decades, an increase of 4.2% from last year’s projection, with a revised total value estimate of $5.2 trillion.

The single-aisle jet market is projected to be the fastest growing and most dynamic segment due to the continued emergence of LCCs globally. A total of 25,680 new aircraft will be needed in this segment, making up 70% of the total units in the forecast.

“Based on the overwhelming amount of orders and deliveries, we see the heart of the single-aisle market in the 160-seat range,” said Randy Tinseth, vice-president for marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “There’s no question the market is converging to this size, where network flexibility and cost efficiency meet.”

The US plane maker forecasts 8,600 new aeroplanes will be needed in the twin-aisle segment, led by small wide-body jets in the 200-300-seat range such as the 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliner that Boeing makes.

This year’s forecast reflects a continued shift in demand from very large aircraft to efficient new twin-engine products such as the 787-10 and the new 777X now on the drawing board, said Mr Tinseth.

The Asia-Pacific market including China will continue to lead the way in total aircraft deliveries the next two decades with 13,460.

Boeing’s 737 family became the first civil jet to surpass 10,000 orders, with some 12,000 sold as of last month.

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