Say Goodbye to Old Aircraft, New Generation Ones To Take Their Place by 2040

By 2040, most commercial airplanes in operation will be new, fuel-efficient ones 7 photos
Photo: Airbus
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The biggest aviation trend for the next 20 years will be replacing the existing fleet with new, fuel-efficient aircraft that are also powered by sustainable fuel. This will also mean an increased demand for pilots and technical maintenance experts.
Airbus, one of the major names in the aerospace industry, has recently shared some interesting insights related to the future of commercial aviation. The report’s most important finding? By 2040, most of the active commercial aircraft will be new-generation ones, compared to the current 13%. This huge replacement process will also mean a considerable improvement in CO2-related efficiency.

According to the report, replacement will take precedence over growth, during the next two decades. Old-generation aircraft need to go, if we want to see real changes in decarbonization. Airbus estimates that more than 15,000 aircraft will be replaced, and a total of 39,000 new models, for both passenger and freight transportation, will be built over the next years.

This development will also boost the demand for pilots and support personnel. According to the company’s estimates, over 550,000 pilots will be needed in the future, together with more than 700,000 highly-skilled technicians. Maintenance is believed to be the fastest-growing services segment, followed by ground operations and sustainable services.

Airbus expects demands to grow especially for small aircraft – three times more, compared to the medium and large segments. Cargo demand is also expected to rise, due to the continuously-growing e-commerce sector. Over the next 20 years, market demand for freighters will rise up to 2,400, and almost 1,000 of those will be new-generation aircraft.

Achieving the net-zero target by 2050 can only be possible by introducing modern airplanes built for significant fuel savings, while also retiring the ones from older generations. Statistics show that the aviation industry has already decreased its CO2 emissions significantly, over the past decades, so it’s on the right track. Modern aircraft and the use of SAF will help it get there faster.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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