FARNBOROUGH, UK – Airbus and Boeing are gearing up to roll out large commercial jetliners in ever-increasing quantities over the next 10 years, according to a new report from Forecast International, but component suppliers may not be able to keep up with demand. Adding to the pressure on suppliers is the fact that Airbus and Boeing are shifting their focus from manufacturing to integration, and are looking to outsource more design and production responsibilities. But how fast and high to increase production is a tricky proposition for the two companies. In addition to the vulnerability of their supply chains, another concern is the overall health of the airline industry.
Airbus and Boeing have considerable incentive to keep production rates high and growing. The two companies hold large numbers of unfilled orders, but this means long waiting times for customers to take delivery of their aircraft, which often results in considerable frustration for these customers. A lack of early delivery slots could also tempt potential buyers to take a serious look at new aircraft emerging from manufacturers outside of the Airbus/Boeing duopoly. Such aircraft include the Bombardier CSeries, the COMAC C919, and the Irkut MC-21.
Forecast International’s newly released “The Market For Large Commercial Jet Transports” projects that 14,655 large commercial airliners will be produced in the 10-year period from 2012 to 2021. The Connecticut-based market research firm estimates the value of this production at $2.04 trillion in constant 2012 U.S. dollars (www.forecastinternational.com).