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.
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.
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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