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Global Fleet Drivers Changing, Key Metric Is Flexibility

posted Nov 5, 2010, 3:22 AM by Elaine Bell   [ updated Nov 5, 2010, 3:24 AM ]
5th November, 2010


Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of airlines worldwide, new drivers are changing how airline managements are evaluating their fleet needs, according to Boyd International Group President Mike Boyd. Speaking before the 15th annual International Airline Summit, Boyd said the most important metric now is flexibility, including how fast an airline can spool up or down capacity as the economy changes.

The second key factor is, of course, fuel, which according to ATR Director Marketing and Sales North American Mark Neely is expected to rise to USD100 per barrel by 2020 and USD115 per barrel by 2030.

But the most important thing for manufacturers to know is that alliances will be the ones driving aircraft choice and configuration in the future.

“Inter-alliance fleet pooling will be critical in the future,” said Boyd. “Future forecasts will be based on alliance-related imperatives, what alliances will need. There must be complete interchangeability from the cabin to the pilots to the revenue. Where they are going to fly depends more on the revenue that can be made than the passengers they can carry. Decision drivers will start with sector costs, not seat capacity. Mission flexibility will be increasingly important even more so than matching capacity to demand.”

And, for that reason, he is calling the Bombardier C-Series a major market disruptor.

Boyd also called China a wildcard. “Everybody knows about China but they don’t know much beyond the fact that they are going to need a whole lot of aircraft.”