No Quick Recovery: Boeing’s Pessimistic Forecast


Boeing released its “2020 Boeing Market Outlook (BMO)” today that says while defense and government services are expected to remain stable, overall conditions for the airlines “will continue to face significant challenges due to the pandemic.” Looking out of the next decade, Boeing estimates the overall market demand will fall from $8.7 to $8.5 trillion, and that while airlines are now recovering slowly “a full recovery will take years.” The overall outlook predicts demand for airliners of all sizes to be 11 percent lower than estimated last year, amounting to 18,350 units over the next decade. “In the longer term, with key industry drivers expected to remain stable, the commercial fleet is forecasted to return to its growth trend, generating demand for more than 43,000 new airplanes in the 20-year forecast time period,” the report said. In general, the single-aisle airliner and freighter markets are expected to recover sooner than for widebody aircraft, based on the slower recovery for long-distance travel demand.

“While this year has been unprecedented in terms of its disruption to our industry, we believe that aerospace and defense will overcome these near-term challenges, return to stability and emerge with strength,” said Boeing Chief Strategy Officer Marc Allen.

Even with the recent precipitous decline considered, Boeing feels that there is demand for “more than 43,000 new airplanes in the 20-year forecast time period” as well as a $2.6 trillion market for defense and space just in the next decade. “This spending projection reflects the ongoing importance of military aircraft, autonomous systems, satellites, spacecraft and other products to national and international defense. This demand continues to be global in nature with 40 percent of expenditures expected to originate outside of the United States,” says Boeing.

Chart: Boeing

“Commercial aviation is facing historic challenges this year, significantly affecting near- and medium-term demand for airplanes and services,” said Darren Hulst, vice president, commercial marketing. “Yet history has also proven air travel to be resilient time and again. The current disruption will inform airline fleet strategies long into the future, as airlines focus on building versatile fleets, networks and business model innovations that deliver the most capability and greatest efficiency at the lowest risk for sustainable growth.”

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. Aviation may be resilient, but Boeing is bankrupt. You don’t need to read between the lines to see that.
    If it will take over a decade for them to recover, and if in the meantime their orders for new aircraft will
    decline (on average) by 11%, they’re done. Might as well call the auctioneer. The only way that they
    can survive is by using their diminishing credit to buy up smaller companies in allied fields, to augment
    their dwindling market shares, and thereby prevent (or at least postpone) an ultimate financial collapse.
    Either that, or else “diversify” their corporate portfolio by acquiring assets they can leech indefinitely.
    No reason to shed a tear. They’re getting their comeuppance for decades of arrogance, indifference,
    mistreatment of employees at every level, and political corruption (=wining and dining Congressmen).
    The article leaves no doubt as to their fate. So why mix, then muffle such an unmistakable message?
    Just tell the truth. and let the blue chips fall out of the sky. The world will be safer that way, and the
    American public will neither be distracted nor deceived.

  2. “challenges due to the pandemic.” when I read things like these it reminds me of Steve Jobs’ famous Reality Distortion Field (RDF), except there aren’t too many Jobs around these days.

    Boeing is in the worst possible spot. They put themselves in that spot. Aviation and airline recovery will happen through regional air travel. They’re in no shape to meet that demand. The 737 MAX or 8, or whatever they want to call it has a lot of stigmas attached to it compared to the A320 family. They focused on the 777. The 787 is in questionable shape. Their latest insistence to move its production to only South Carolina when customers gave it poor quality ratings, some going out of their way not to get them from there is odd at best.

    Am I missing something? I don’t see Boeing making the right choices and moves. Bring back aviators engineers and scientists with a proven aviation track record at the board level. Then, work on bringing that original Boeing engineering culture. These two steps would send a far greater positive message then what we’ve seen to date. All of this is giving the Chinese aviation industry everything it needs on a silver tray.

    Boeing, it’s time to bite the bullet and truly go back to what made the company great.