While Asian carriers may have excess capacity in the short term, Steve Mason, vice president of aircraft analysis at CIT Aerospace, notes that since traffic is projected to grow by 6 per cent annually, the region will need approximately 13,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years. These views and others are presented in “Clear Skies or Turbulence Ahead for the Asian Aircraft Order Book?”, the latest piece of market intelligence to be featured in the CIT Executive Insights series.
“Aircraft manufacturers take orders for more aircraft than they expect to produce, which shields them from a slump in actual orders and protects their shareholders,” says Mason. “As Asian carriers put in place more capacity discipline than in years past, we must realize that aircraft orders will fall in line with projected growth over a longer timeline.”
According to Mason, softening yields and declining load factors across the region are exacerbating concerns about a long-term surplus, but analysis of capacity and demand patterns in the Asian market show that the current commitment for seat growth among Asian carriers is in line with traffic predictions through 2020.
The balance between capacity constraint and aircraft order discipline ultimately may be determined by the rise of Asia’s low cost carriers (LCCs). Their aggressive seat growth in Asia follows an established pattern of capacity expansion in the more mature LCC markets in North America and Europe. Currently, LCCs account for approximately 20 per cent of the intra-Asian market, compared with a 45 per cent share held by their counterparts in Europe.