In their respective market outlooks, both Boeing and Airbus forecast strong growth in intercontinental passenger traffic until 2029. However, they differ substantially with respect to their assessment of the future development of airline (and alliance) networks. These deviating projections have, in turn, massively influenced their product range. Boeing, having long predicted a major growth in intercontinental point-to-point operations – based on the so-called fragmentation (dehubbing) hypothesis – has consistently opted for the development of the B787 (Dreamliner) family of midsized, and extremely efficient, wide-body aircraft. Airbus, on the contrary, is forecasting a substantial increasing demand for hub-to-hub traffic, which according to the company, will require airlines to purchase a large number of very large aircraft (VLA), especially its Airbus 380. Though both manufacturers did not put all their money where their mouths are – Boeing has reacted to the Airbus 380 challenge with an updated derivative of its Boeing 747 flagship, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, while Airbus is targeting its proposed Airbus 350 family against both the Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 – the fragmentation hypothesis remains one of the most controversial issues in the civil aviation community today. Regardless of which scenario will eventually turn out to be more realistic, either will impact tremendously on aircraft manufacturers, on the airlines' route and fleet planning decisions as well as airport operators.
Knorr, A., Lueg-Arndt, A. and Eisenkopf, A. (2012), "Chapter 9 Fragmentation of North Atlantic and Transpacific Air Transport Markets – Wither the Hubs?", Peoples, J. (Ed.) Pricing Behavior and Non-Price Characteristics in the Airline Industry (Advances in Airline Economics, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 193-212. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2212-1609(2011)0000003011Download as .RIS
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