Large aircraft shortage makes for turbulent skies

Large aircraft shortage makes for turbulent skies

Large aircraft shortage makes for turbulent skies

Adding to a host of industry woes, experts are warning that air travelers could soon face more turmoil due to a nationwide plane shortage.

Airlines are reportedly shorting 12,720 commercial aircraft due to a combination of problems in manufacturers’ supply chains, a pandemic flight cancellation and production cutbacks at Boeing, according to investment bank Jefferies.

The report comes shortly after Washington-based Boeing announced it would not be delivering all-new plane models until the mid-2030s, and appears still grappling with overlapping crises caused by a 20-month grounding after two crashes COVID-19 Pandemic.

A commercial aircraft backlog will likely reduce your chances of flying an updated aircraft with new onboard amenities, an expert explained.


“Consumers and passengers just may not enjoy the most up-to-date cabins and products that you may see on these new deliveries,” Aerodynamic Advisory’s Mike Stengel told Jeff Flock of FOX Business Monday in an appearance on Varney & Co.

Airplanes on the Boeing assembly line

A shortage of commercial jetliners may mean passengers don’t enjoy “the most up-to-date cabins and products,” Aerodynamic Advisory’s Mike Stengel said at Varney & Co. Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (Getty Images)

In December 2019, Boeing made the decision to halt production of its 737 MAX jetliner for nearly two years after two fatal crashes, creating a shortage of 400 aircraft. After the grounding, Boeing only produced about 40 planes per month.

After completing rigorous safety and regulatory certifications, Boeing’s MAX aircraft were allowed back into service, and in 2021 the company began test flights on the largest member of its best-selling single-aisle aircraft.

During the MAX safety ground, photos of planes stranded in the desert went viral. But according to an aviation consultant, many of these accurate jetliners have already been brought back online.

“Most of what’s commercially useful to airlines has already been reclaimed from the desert and put back into service,” Bob Mann said in a statement to Flock on Friday.

The planes that remain out of service, according to Mann, are likely “gas-guzzling planes” that aren’t as economically viable given the high cost of kerosene.

Consumers have already reported feeling the cabin downgrade. A US Department of Transportation report shows that 49,000 complaints were filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2022, a 27% increase from the previous year.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said that airlines operating as if this were still 2019, before the pandemic, inevitably have to struggle.


According to Kirby, the industry faces shortages of pilots and other workers, outdated technology, and burdens on the FAA.

“The system just can’t handle today’s volume, let alone the anticipated growth,” Kirby said during the company Fourth quarter earnings call with analysts and reporters. “There are a number of airlines that cannot fly their flight schedules. The customers pay the price.”


Ken Martin of FOX Business contributed to this report.

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