Executives from major aircraft manufacturers still predict that airlines worldwide will need roughly 30,000 aircraft or more in the next 20 years.
But unlike in past years when major network carriers accounted for most orders, demand will increasingly come from fast-growing low-cost airlines and carriers based in emerging markets, say the executives, who spoke at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Baltimore, Maryland on 5 November.
"It's these dynamic and fast-moving business models that are driving growth," Mike Warner, director of market analysis at Boeing, tells attendees.
He says low-cost carriers increasingly drive demand for single-aisle aircraft, while global Middle East airlines are hungry for widebody aircraft.
Boeing predicts airlines worldwide will need roughly 35,000 new units, worth $4.8 trillion, in the next 20 years, says Warner.
He adds that airlines will likely replace 400 to 500 aircraft yearly later this decade and 700 to 800 aircraft yearly next decade.
Patrick Baudis, vice president of marketing for Airbus, says air traffic growth will be particularly pronounced in the Asia-Pacific region, where the middle-class population could quadruple in the next 20 years to roughly 3.5 billion.
Baudis notes that the majority of the world's people live in emerging markets like China, India, the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Airbus predicts demand for commercial and freight aircraft of all sizes will top 29,000 by 2032, including more than 20,000 single-aisle aircraft, 7,300 twin-aisle aircraft and 1,700 "very large" aircraft such as the A380, says Baudis.
Though single-aisle aircraft will account for about 70% of new units, widebody aircraft sales will make up about 60% of the value of new orders, Baudis says.
Executives agree that North America's share of total orders will dwindle in the coming years.
By the early 2020s, North American airlines will carry roughly 20% of the world's traffic, down from roughly 50% in 1991, says Eric Christensen, Embraer's regional vice president of marketing.
Mike Boyd, head of the Boyd Group, says the majority of aircraft coming off the factory floor in the coming years will be replacements for retiring aircraft, while roughly 40% will be to accommodate air traffic growth.
Boyd notes airlines will face increased pressure in the coming years to retire current-generation aircraft due to efficiency gains brought by models still under development, like Boeing's 737 Max, Airbus' A320neo and Bombardier's CSeries.
Boyd predicts "super long haul" routes, like those from the US to India, will become less a part of airlines' route networks in the coming years due to the exorbitant amount of fuel required for such lengthy trips.
At the same time, however, new twin-aisle aircraft like Boeing's 787 will increasingly make long-haul routes to smaller cities more viable, Boyd says.
British Airways would never have chosen to launch flights between London and Austin, Texas, if not for the economics of the 787, Boyd says.
He also discounts what he describes as media hype about the demise of jumbo jets like the 747.
"We think there's a lot more demand than we see with the order book," Boyd says of jumbo jets.
Just last week, Boeing announced it would cut production of its 747-8 to 1.5 aircraft monthly at the end of the year, down from 1.75 aircraft monthly currently at two per month at the beginning of the year.
Boeing's Warner says the company expects demand for 747 freighters to recover in the coming years, and calls the 747-8 a good replacement for ageing 747s.
But he concedes demand for 747-sized passenger aircraft has waned.
"On the passenger side it’s a much smaller market," Warner says. "We just know that the number of markets and number of airlines that fly that [aircraft] is limited."