This decade-long production of regional passenger aircraft will be worth $136.1 billion in 2014 U.S. dollars, Forecast International analysts say in the study titled "The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft," released this month.
Regional aircraft production rose by almost 30 percent from 2013 to 2014, and the next several years will see continued market growth, though at a more subdued rate, analysts say, adding that yearly production will flatten somewhat in 2015 and 2016 before more robust growth kicks in from 2017 to 2020.
The production growth will be due largely to the service entry and initial production ramp-ups of new jetliners such as the Bombardier CS100, the Embraer E2 family, and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), analysts say. Customers for these large-capacity regional jets will be regional airlines, major network airlines, and low-fare carriers.
Scope clauses in pilot contracts will limit regional jetliner growth in the large North American market, according to the study. With a minor exception for a handful of existing 86-seaters flown by American Airlines (former US Airways) partners, scope clauses at all three U.S. legacy carriers prohibit their regional partners from operating any aircraft larger than 76 seats.
Sales of regional turboprops have been strong in recent years, driven by high fuel prices and a need for carriers to reduce operating costs, analysts say. Recent steep declines in fuel prices, though, are sure to cool off turboprop demand to some extent, but a rebound in fuel costs would restore some of the lost momentum.
ATR and Bombardier each have been considering building a 90-seat turboprop, but low fuel prices may delay this project until fuel costs go back up.
Embraer, ATR, Bombardier, and Mitsubishi will lead leading regional aircraft manufacturing over the next 10 years, when Embraer will build 910 regional jetliners, analysts say. ATR will produce 836 regional turboprops during the period, and Bombardier will build 696 regional aircraft. Mitsubishi will produce 538 regional jets.
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