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Boeing seeing stronger demand for short haul flights in pandemic era

Taiwan’s 2021 capacity remains below 2020 levels and at about 35% of 2019 capacity in terms of departures

(Reuters photo)

(Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Passenger traffic has only returned to about 50% for Boeing compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the company.

Speaking at an online commercial market outlook event on Tuesday (Nov. 23), Managing Director of Regional Marketing David Schulte said that Boeing currently has around 15% of its active fleet, or around 3,500 planes, parked and not in service. The company has seen a recovery in short-haul flights, with domestic markets leading the way; however, long-haul flights are not expected to recover until 2025, Schulte said.

Boeing also sees COVID restrictions by governments as a major factor depressing air traffic numbers. The airplane manufacturer views vaccinations as the key to restoring global air travel.

Schulte said Boeing sees three market outlook trends for the industry: replacement, resilience, and versatility. In terms of fleet renewal, the firm said sustainability is the key determinant driving fleet replacement decisions.

As for market resilience, domestic markets have seen a stronger recovery than international routes. As for Taiwan specifically, Schulte said the market remains depressed, and while 2021 capacity has steadily increased over the last six months, it remains below 2020 levels and at about 35% of 2019 capacity in terms of departures.

For Northeast Asia (Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea), Boeing said carriers are adding more international flights. Trans-Pacific flights remain the largest long-haul market for the region.

Amid the pandemic, cargo yields remain the one bright spot in the industry. COVID has also caused many airlines to turn their twin-aisle passenger aircraft into cargo-only flights. Overall, over 2,600 Boeing passenger aircraft have been turned into cargo carriers.

Moving forward, Boeing expects emerging markets in South Asia, China, and Southeast Asia to drive its economic growth.