No evidence of a 'meaningful change' in aircraft economic life: Boeing

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Boeing has revealed in a white paper to the industry that it can find no proof of a shift in the economic life of aircraft now or in the future.

"Trends of the current-generation aircraft, such as the 737 Next-Generation and Airbus A320, are in line with historical trends of their predecessors," says Boeing in a research report issued to financiers yesterday.

"There is no evidence of a meaningful change in airplane economic life over the last two decades, or going forward."

This view is reflected in Boeing's 20-year Current Market Outlook, which indicates the airline industry will need 34,000 new aircraft, of which 41% fulfils the demand for replacement and 59% for growth, according to the manufacturer.

Boeing's research did not identify a generally accepted standard metric to quantify aircraft economic life. Rather, the manufacturer observed that aircraft economic life is defined contextually in accordance with the purpose of the assessment and perspective of the assessor.

Two commonly used surrogates include the average age of aircraft when the units are permanently withdrawn from service, and the time interval for a cohort of aircraft to be reduced by half.

Boeing's research found that whichever surrogate was used to measure aircraft economic life, "the measure has remained stable for more than 15 years".

A technical paper that details the data process and analysis results will become available in the "near future", says Boeing.