Open aircraft slots unavailable until 2019: Ascend Webcast

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Customers looking for open aircraft slots will be hard pressed to find much availability before 2019, according to Chris Seymour, head of market analysis at Flightglobal advisory service Ascend.

During the next three years, there is "virtually nothing bar any swaps or deferrals" available, said Seymour during the Ascend 2020 Webcast: 2013 the year of the Snakes (and Ladders) today. "Even in the next five years, there are limited open slots, mainly regional jets, the current generation widebodies and the last of the Ceo and Next Generation units," he says. "It is only at the end of the decade when any significant number of slots are available, especially for the new generation types."

Some 60% of forecast production is already accounted for in the next 10 years, says Seymour.

"This sends out a strong signal that the world's airlines are continuing their drive to increased efficiency," he says.

This year's deliveries are "single-aisle focussed" with production now at some 80 aircraft every month, according to Seymour. Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 production rates have also increased and each will see 100 aircraft deliveries, he says.

Only in the regional jet sector is there "some concern" although new orders from US airlines are "starting to drive an increase in backlog."

Seymour says the "record backlog" is leading to rising production rates, with deliveries set to pass 1,500 units next year and increase to 1,800 aircraft in 10 years' time - "definitely a challenge for the supply chain".

"Continuing profitability and desire to drive down costs by using more efficient aircraft, led to a net gain of 2,400 jet orders in 2012, the third best year in the past decade," he says.

Seymour concludes annual orders have "recovered from the fuel and financial crisis-led slowdown", which saw a low-point in 2009.