3 key factors that drive global fleet efficiency

posted on 22nd August 2022 by Eddie Saunders
3 key factors that drive global fleet efficiency

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Global fleet efficiency is driven by a variety of different aircraft and mission types across a broad range of routes and aircraft configurations.

Our latest intelligence reveals that the Europe and Asia Pacific regions contribute over 1.5 million flights to the global mix and are leading the improvement in global efficiency.

Africa, the Middle East and North America are driving the lowest improvements. There are 3 key factors are driving these trends.

1. Fleet age

The average age of the global commercial aircraft fleet is a major driving force behind efficiency. IBA Insight reveals the global average fleet age to be 13.5 years. The Europe and Asia Pacific fleets are on average 13.1 and 10.3 years old respectively, whilst the oldest global fleets are in North America (16.3 years) and Africa (17.4 years).

2. Fleet mix

Another key driver in regional efficiency is the mix of prolific aircraft types in that region. A higher proportion of regional jets and turboprop aircraft will drive down overall efficiency on a per-seat per-mile basis. Fleet data from IBA Insight shows that 12.6% of the fleet in Europe and CIS are regional jets. This is 37% higher in North America, where such aircraft make up 17.2% of the fleet. Not only is North America’s efficiency negatively impacted by the proliferation of the regional jet, it is also hampered by scope clauses limiting the MTOW (maximum take off weight) of aircraft permitted to fly certain domestic routes. This limits the introduction of more efficient, new generation regional jets such as the Embraer 190/195 E2.

3. Types of carriers and aircraft configuration

Airlines that operate higher density aircraft are more efficient on a CO2 per-seat per-mile basis. As legacy and flag carriers tend to operate mixed configurations, regions with higher numbers of such operators are typically less efficient. A key example is the Middle East region. Whilst having the second-youngest fleet in the world, the region is dominated by state-owned full-service carriers, with a focus towards opulent first and business class products. This contributes to a higher CO2 per seat-per mile than regions with a higher proportion of low cost and ultra-low cost carriers.