These two families of jet aircraft represent more than 11,200 aircraft of the current worldwide fleet of 22,085 large jet aircraft in current operation – more than one-half. No other set of aircraft types will have more affect on the worldwide fleet than these.
In its latest 20-year Global Market Forecast (GMF), the airframe manufacturer, Airbus, projects single aisle short and medium-haul aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 will garner the highest demand, accounting for 71 percent of new deliveries or 20,242 new aircraft valued at $1.8 trillion. Low-cost carriers from emerging markets are expected to drive demand, as Boeing predicts 24,670 new smaller single-aisle aircraft [737- & A320-class] will be needed for those carriers.
These two groups of 737/A320 aircraft are as very safe as illustrated by the accident rate data below:
hull losses hull losses with fatalities
A320/321/319/318 0.16 0.26
737-100/-200 0.89 1.75
737-300/-400/-500 0.25 0.52
737-600/-700/0 0.13 0.26
We simply must keep this huge and significant fleet of 737s and A320s safe as aviation evolves into the future. The worldwide aviation system depends on their ongoing safety performance.
A careful examination is needed of what safety features of these two outstanding families of aircraft together with their associated training, maintenance and operational environment are working well today and why; plus a careful examination of specific strengths of these aircraft may be vulnerable due to future changes in:
- the aviation system,
- airplane operational usage,
- personnel demographics,
- evolving infrastructure or other considerations
- Because these new derivatives feature complex interactions among many on-board systems, these aircraft shouldn’t be viewed as simple modifications of existing designs, but rather as all-new aircraft.