September 10, 2012 04:04 ET

Research Finds Large Commercial Jetliner Market Is Robust and Growing

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - Sep 10, 2012) - has announced the addition of "Civil Aircraft: The Market for Large Commercial Jet Transports," to their collection of Manufacturing market reports. For more information, visit

Though many other sectors of the global economy remain in a moribund state, the large commercial jetliner market is robust and growing. By the end of 2011, Airbus and Boeing had accumulated order backlogs for large commercial jetliners representing about seven years' worth of production at 2012 build rates. During 2011, net orders for the companies' large airliners outpaced deliveries by more than two-to-one. Meanwhile, Airbus and Boeing are in the midst of ramping up large jetliner production, particularly for their popular narrow body models.

All this activity has led to speculation by some industry observers that the large airliner market may be experiencing "bubble" conditions similar to the recent U.S. housing bubble, the effects of which are still being felt today. If the airliner market is indeed in a bubble situation, the main question is then one of timing -- i.e., when does the bubble burst with a rapid collapse of demand for new aircraft.

Other observers, however, counter that the evidence of an airliner order bubble is quite thin. While undoubtedly some over exuberance does exist in the market, air travel is growing strongly, particularly in economically dynamic parts of the world such as the Middle East and the Asia/Pacific region. At the same time, North American airlines have not yet fully joined the order boom, and a number of North American carriers are facing significant near- to medium-term aircraft replacement needs.

In addition, Airbus and Boeing have become adept at managing supply and demand shifts through the technique of overbooking. The two firms attempt to allocate their delivery slots in such a way as to reduce their exposure to any one geographic region or business sector. Plus, when orders are canceled or deferred, the two manufacturers are able to quickly move other customers into those slots.

Finally, if and when overall demand does decline, the big order backlogs already accumulated by Airbus and Boeing should help protect the two firms from having to drastically cut production rates.

Besides growth in air traffic, a number of factors are resulting in the current strong demand for commercial airliners. High fuel prices and a laser-like focus by airlines on reducing operating costs are leading many carriers to replace aging aircraft with new, more fuel-efficient airliners. Access to financing has eased tremendously since 2009, and loans are often guaranteed by government export credit agencies.

Meanwhile, at the same time that they are increasing build rates, Airbus and Boeing are aggressively marketing their products and securing sizable new orders, frequently at deep discounts from list prices. While the competition with each other provides much of the motivation for this frenzied activity, the two giant manufacturers also have their sights firmly set on the emergence of new competitors in the market.

The large commercial airliner market has essentially been a duopoly since Boeing absorbed McDonnell Douglas in the late 1990s. Since then, Airbus and Boeing have enjoyed a market supremacy that has, until quite recently, been almost unchallenged. However, new competitors are now emerging that are looking to capture a significant market.

This new competition is concentrated in the narrow body, or light/medium transport, segment of the market. It is here where aircraft such as the Bombardier C Series, the COMAC C919, and the Irkut MC-21 are appearing. It is true that none of these new aircraft have so far managed to rack up order totals anywhere close to those of the Airbus and Boeing narrow body families. Still, their appearance on the market, and the prospect that they might begin to eat into the future sales of the Big Two manufacturers, has been helping to drive recent product development and production decisions at both Airbus and Boeing.

This market analysis includes 10-year production forecasts, in both units and monetary production value, for each large commercial jet transport currently in production, or expected to be in production, within the forecast time period. The forecasts cover more than 30 airliner models in 13 different aircraft families. Market share projections are also generated for each manufacturer.

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