More than 12,500 Airbus and Boeing airliners have entered storage since January

By mid-April, over two-thirds of the world’s 22,000 mainline passenger airliners were grounded as airlines respond to a near-total collapse in demand.

According to Cirium fleets data, as of 15 April the total number of Airbus and Boeing jets in operation stood at 7,635 aircraft, as the inactive fleet ballooned to almost 14,400 units.

Cirium tracks the global fleet, applying strict criteria of at least seven consecutive days of verified inactivity before recognising an aircraft as being grounded. This means that the data can lag the reality on the ground until aircraft have been confirmed as in storage.

The confirmed storage tally has been rising over the course of 2020 as the pandemic spread across the globe during the first quarter and as Cirium data analysts recognised more aircraft as meeting its definition of stored.

Since the beginning of January, the stored Airbus and Boeing passenger fleet has risen by over 12,500 aircraft, from a total of just under 2,000 aircraft at the start of the year. This included the 383 grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Cirium fleets data reveals that the regions worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic currently appear to Africa and Europe, where less than 12% and 15% of their respective mainline fleets are operating. In terms of sheer numbers, Europe has the largest glut of inactive jets – over 4,700 of the approximately 5,900 airliners in the region.

At the other end of the scale, North American and Asian carriers still have a relatively large proportion of their fleets in service – although significantly both are still below the 50% level. Cirium shows that 45% of the North American and 49% of Asia-Pacific fleets are still flying.

Globally, widebody aircraft have been most dramatically affected, with just over a quarter of the worldwide fleet still flying, compared with 37% of the narrowbody fleet. Latin America has the smallest proportion of widebodies flying – 17% of the 162 aircraft in the region.