ANALYSIS: The short/medium-haul widebody airliner market

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Fundamental market shifts have led the big two Western airframers to opt against offering structurally optimised widebodies for short- and medium-haul high density routes, according to a Flightglobal Insight special report on the airliner market.

The Short/Medium-Haul Widebody Airliner Market report examines whether there is potential for a new entrant to fill the void.

Deregulation, consumer demand for higher frequencies, and the development of higher-capacity and increasingly efficient single-aisle models have led to older-generation twin-aisle types such as the Airbus A300/A310 and Boeing 767 being squeezed out of most short/medium-haul routes in Europe and North America. Some regional markets in Asia continue to sustain widebody operations, but the low-cost model is increasingly taking hold, led by the rampant growth of predominantly narrowbody operators such as AirAsia and Lionair.

In the wake of Boeing’s decision to abandon its proposed 787- 3 development, which was primarily aimed at the Japanese domestic market, the Chicago-based giant and rival Airbus have concentrated on offering paper recertifications of their long-range widebodies, with lower operating weights, de-rated engines and extended cyclic maintenance intervals designed to make the “misuse” of these aircraft more economically palatable for operators.

A major advantage for airlines and financiers is the ability to retain the flexibility to reactivate their aircraft with their full range capability at later date by paying a fee to the manufacturer.

The report includes detailed interviews with senior executives at Airbus and Boeing to capture their strategic thinking on the future of the short/medium-haul high-density market, as well as the views of Flightglobal advisory service Ascend. The key market trends are illustrated using Flightglobal’s extensive data resources.

Also featured is a detailed look at ambitious plans by Russia’s Rosaviaconsortium to launch the triple-aisle Frigate Ecojet to capitalise on what it believes is a significant market niche vacated by Airbus and Boeing.

Download a PDF version of the report here or click on the Flightglobal Pro reports tab above.