Single-aisle aircraft will increase their dominance of the global airline fleet as it grows over the next decade, Air Lease executive chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy expects.

Speaking at an Aviation Club luncheon in London today, Udvar-Hazy said narrowbodies had upped their share from 70% to 75% of in-service commercial aircraft within a few years. "That trend will continue," he predicts.

He singles out Airbus's longest-range narrowbody, the A321LR, as a crucial aircraft in the medium-haul market, suggesting that "we will see a lot more of them on transatlantic routes" because the variant offers "close to the [Boeing] 757's capabilities, but uses 30 to 35% less fuel".

However, he says "the multimillion dollar question" is how Boeing responds with its New Mid-market Airplane concept. Udvar-Hazy expects the airframer to make a final decision on the "797" by next summer.

Udvar-Hazy has seen the leasing sector increase its share of the market from low single percentages in the early days of ILFC – the pioneering lessor he co-founded in the 1970s – to close to 50% today. However, he does believe that lessors' proportion will grow by much more. "I see 40-60% as a safe zone," he says. "I don't see owning aircraft going out of business. If anything, we are seeing the trend going the other way as airline profits increase."

He remains sceptical about the prospects of the Airbus A380. "It is ideal for about 50 to 60 city pairs, but its versatility is limited because of seasonal markets and airport infrastructure that makes it a complex aircraft to support," he says. Pointing to the fact that Emirates dominates the installed fleet and orderbook for the double-deck widebody, he adds: "How do you estimate residuals when so much of the fleet is in the hands of one airline?"

Source: Cirium Dashboard