What are the current fleet sizes for the US airline industry and any additional information on how many new planes the airlines order each year (or replacement cycle). Total number of planes in service per airline is fine (even better if there's info the types of aircraft in service per airline)
Hello! Thank you for your question regarding the current fleet size for the US airline industry. We understand that figures for Canada are also desired and have included those figures in a separate request. In short, in the year of 2016, there were 7,039 commercial aircrafts registered in the US. Below is an in-depth review of findings.
To address your request, we searched through relevant industry reports as well as the FAA database. Throughout our search we were able to obtain figures for the total amount of commercial aircrafts in the US; however, after extensively searching, we were unable to find a breakdown of these figures by airline or manufacturer. Additionally, we could not find direct information for the average number of aircrafts acquired annually or the average replacement rate for airline carriers.
Due to our inability to find a breakdown of these figures by airline or manufacturer, we compiled the most recent fleet information for the top 14 airlines. The top 14 airlines were chosen based on 2 reports from MRO Network and the Motley Fool. We then based our list on those that had the largest fleet. Furthermore, since we were unable to find industry averages for acquisition or replacement rate of commercial aircrafts, we included information on the number of aircrafts on order for the top 14 airlines when available. In addition to finding the figures needed to directly answer your request, we also gathered information forecasting the growth of the commercial fleet size for the airline industry in the US between 2017 and 2037.
TOTAL US AIRLINE COMMERCIAL FLEET OVERVIEW
According to the FAA, there were 7,039 commercial aircrafts registered in the U.S. during 2016. Approximately 57.9% of commercial fleet belonged to mainline carrier aircrafts, equaling 4,073 total mainline carrier jets. Regional carrier fleet was the second largest type of commercial fleet registered in the US. In total, there were 2,156 regional carrier aircrafts, making up 30.62% of the US commercial aircrafts. Cargo carrier jets only made up 11.5% of all commercial fleet in the US airline industry with a total of 810 aircrafts.
Because we could not locate a comprehensive breakdown of the commercial airline fleet by manufacturer or carrier, we decided to gather relevant information based on the top 14 carriers in the US. These carriers were cross-referenced between the MRO Network top airline list and the Motley Fool top airline list. After compiling the top 14, we then searched for the most current fleet information for each carrier. The top airline carriers in the US from largest amount of aircrafts to the smallest are as follows:
(1.) American Airlines
(2.) Delta Airlines
(3.) United Airlines
(4.) Southwest Airlines
(5.) SkyWest Airlines
(8.) Alaska Airlines
(9.) Endeavor Air
(10.) Spirit Airlines
(11.) Allegiant Air
(12.) Frontier Airlines
(13.) Hawaiian Airlines
We have compiled a spreadsheet that details the number of aircrafts for each airline as well as the number of new aircrafts on order and the average age of their fleet. The spreadsheet can be found here. Please note that fleet information provided is current as of June 2017.
FORECASTS AND PREDICTIONS
Experts predict that the number of commercial aircrafts will grow to 8,270 by 2037. Of the different types of aircrafts, regional carrier fleet is expected to see a decline. Reasons behind the predicted decline of regional carrier fleet is mainly attributed to airline carriers desiring to reduce regional jets with an occupancy of 50 seats and replacing them with regional jets that allow an occupancy of 70 to 90 seats. Additionally, carriers are likely to start retiring old turboprop and piston aircrafts.
In North America, the growth rate of the commercial airline fleet is expected to grow .8% annually between 2017 and 2027. Narrow-body jets are expected to account for 2.7% of commercial airline fleet growth with wide-body jets following closely behind at 1.9% expected growth.
We were only able to locate a comprehensive breakdown of the US airline commercial fleet size for one year - 2014. Based on the report presented by Forecast International, there were 7,064 commercial aircrafts in 2014. Their report breaks down these numbers by manufacturer, model, and airline. The complete breakdown can be found here.
To wrap it up, the FAA reported a total of 7,039 commercial aircrafts registered in the US for the year 2016. No total numbers were found for 2017, nor could we find a comprehensive that broke down the figures for 2016 by manufacturer or airline carrier. Therefore, we have attached the most up-to-date fleet information for the top 14 airlines in the US, which can be found in the attached spreadsheet.
Thank you for asking Wonder! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.