Larry Schneider, Boeing's VP for product development, told the annual meeting of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association in Seattle on Tuesday that he expects "the number of airplanes leaving the global fleet to nearly double in the next decade."
Schneider's comments are not unexpected. Boeing's market forecasts have been seeing a shrink in model longevity as the continuous pressure of high fuel prices prompts airlines to think about new airplanes, even if their current airframes are in good shape, aside from the fact that they have fuel-guzzling engines.
This is the reason that the North American market, which is mature by every measure and therefore not prime territory for big airplane orders, is likely to defy that reasoning in the coming years. US carriers have old fleets that need to be replaced.
AFRA is a non-profit industry association of 70 members in 16 countries whose members face the difficult task of recycling aircraft without messing up the environment.
Boeing's goal is to see that 90% of its airplanes are recyclable by 2016.
But AFRA Executive Director Martin Fraissignes worries about what the markets are saying. "There needs to be greater demand for recycled material," he says.
"Manufacturers have to design these material options into their products and recyclers have to develop new technologies and produce the volumes that encourage the whole process."