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The global return of the narrowbody market has been spectacular, rising from the ashes of a pandemic collapse. Many of the same factors that enabled that rebound apply to the widebody aircraft market, however unique headwinds also persist. The result is a market awaiting a spark – to ignite a catalyst which may never arrive.

Even as COVID-19 infections raged, air travel defied expectations. As domestic and leisure travel showed a robust recovery, challenges with having sufficient single-aisle aircraft became apparent to TAC Analysis by mid-2021. By May 2022, industry giants were openly discussing the likelihood of a narrowbody shortage, including AerCap, the world’s largest commercial aircraft lessor.

Related: The pandemic could soon mean a shortage of new airplanes, too

The twin markers of a robust domestic travel recovery and subsequent need for single-aisle aircraft were clear. However, the inflection points that generated high confidence of a U.S. traffic resurgence and a shortfall of narrowbodies are not yet coalescing around renewed widebody demand.

Even as many factors point to a robust surprise in twin-aisle demand, just as many point to a stagnant market.

Related: Aerospace settles into persistent single-aisle feast and twin-aisle famine

We explore these conflicting factors in this TAC Analysis of the widebody market. Economic and regional headwinds are holding the widebody market in a stalemate. In such an uncertain market without clear direction, we instead focus on the coming changes that could send the widebody market to within reach of a shortage, or stagnate the market for years to come.

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Courtney Miller is Managing Director of Analysis for The Air Current. Miller most recently spent 10-years with Bombardier Aerospace, serving as director, North America sales for the company’s commercial aircraft line and led airline marketing and analysis for the western hemisphere for airlines in North and South America and the community of global aircraft lessors. Miller is also founder of, where he merged industry history and analysis with insightful and beautiful data visualization to illustrate contemporary trends. Miller is a 3,000-hour U.S. airline pilot and began his career flying for U.S. regional airline Comair. He holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University and a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Technology from Purdue University. He is based in the Dallas, Texas Metroplex.

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