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The role of very large passenger aircraft in global air transport - a review and outlook to the year 2050

Grimme, Wolfgang and Maertens, Sven and Bingemer, Stephan (2021) The role of very large passenger aircraft in global air transport - a review and outlook to the year 2050. Transportation Research Procedia, 59, pp. 76-84. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.trpro.2021.11.099. ISSN 2352-1457.

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352146521008607#!


Aviation history has shown an increase in aircraft size in every generation, culminating in the Airbus A380 with a typical capacity of 450 to 600 seats. However, this trend may have come to a halt, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the retirement of very large aircraft. Already before the pandemic, airlines had begun to switch to more efficient, but smaller, twin-engine widebody aircraft like Airbus 350 and Boeing 787, and Airbus and Boeing had ceased the production of their largest aircraft types. As a result, in a post-COVID world, airlines will have to rely on aircraft considerably smaller than previously. In our paper, we analyze the operational history of very large passenger aircraft and discuss the economic challenges operating these aircraft. Furthermore, we provide a short-, medium and long-term view on strategies for airlines to cope with a situation where very large passenger aircraft will not be available any longer. We argue, that in the short term, airlines can react to this situation with revenue management techniques, effectively crowding out passengers with the least willingness to pay. In the medium term, airlines are likely to react with changing network strategies. New aircraft that will become available in the near future will allow airlines to operate ultra-long-haul routes and long-haul routes on airport pairs with lower demand. In the long term, we argue that aircraft manufacturers may have to re-consider their product portfolio, given the long-term growth prospects of aviation, capacity constraints at major airports and a preference of larger aircraft by airlines in their pursuit to reduce unit costs. Hence, despite the current arguments against very large passenger aircraft, a renaissance of this aircraft class might emerge in the next decades.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/146983/
Document Type:Article
Title:The role of very large passenger aircraft in global air transport - a review and outlook to the year 2050
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Grimme, WolfgangUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8498-6281UNSPECIFIED
Maertens, SvenUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4618-0946UNSPECIFIED
Bingemer, StephanHochschule Heilbronnhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6303-2654UNSPECIFIED
Date:8 December 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Transportation Research Procedia
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Page Range:pp. 76-84
Keywords:very large passenger aircraft, airline strategies, aviation forecasting, aviation fleet modelling
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Air Transport Operations and Impact Assessment
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research > Air Transport Economics
Deposited By: Grimme, Wolfgang
Deposited On:15 Dec 2021 13:08
Last Modified:23 Oct 2023 08:12

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