After a period when airlines eschewed widebody planes in favor of lithe, sleek, fuel-saving models, the big-boy jets are suddenly back in favor again.
According to Reuters, demand is growing and fueled by Boeing Co.’s delivery earlier this week of a 787 Dreamliner – its first delivery of a wide-body in more than 15 months.
The aircraft still must undergo regulatory approval after months of issues surrounding the jet, but it nonetheless is a big step for the manufacturer and likely for rival Airbus as well as the large capacity planes come back into vogue.
“I firmly believe that as borders fully reopen, we will see the same rebound in international travel that we saw in the domestic markets,” Aengus Kelly, chief executive of AerCap, the world’s largest leasing firm, told Reuters. “Given the level of inquiry and demand we are seeing for wide-body aircraft, it is clear that the airlines are also convinced of this.”
For now, much of the demand is coming from the Middle East and Asia but as the travel resurgence continues analysts suspect it will carry over to U.S.-based airlines as well.
That will be especially true when international air travel catches up with domestic travel.
“What we’re seeing right now is definitely a recovery that’s taking hold in certain international markets,” Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing, told Reuters last month. “The transatlantic is live and doing well. You’re seeing very robust demand between Europe and the U.S. and between the Middle East and Europe and U.S. So, folks are sticking their heads above water again and making plans.”