Op-Ed: The State of Commercial Aviation in 2023
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Op-Ed: The State of Commercial Aviation in 2023

DALLAS — In 2023, the commercial aviation industry will see significant changes for manufacturers, airlines, and airports that will define its future development.

Due to national travel restrictions, sluggish market growth, and cautious airline expansion plans, 2022 started out with uncertainty for air travel. However, airlines are expected to report their first post-pandemic profits in the coming year.

We will analyze some of the events that are slated to happen in the next 12 months, including aircraft deliveries and phaseouts, airline and airport inaugurations, and more.

Atlas Air will be the customer of the last Boeing 747 ever built, expected to be delivered in February 2023. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

Delivery of the Last Boeing 747

The year 2023 will be a key moment for the world’s most iconic and legendary passenger airplane: the Boeing 747, which Atlas Air (5Y) will be taking delivery of in February. This event will mark the end of more than 50 years of production of the Jumbo jet at Everett Paine Field (PAE), which has seen a total of 1,574 Boeing 747 rollouts since 1968.

This last unit, registered as N863GT, will be the 15th Boeing 747-8F to join 5Y’s fleet since 2012. In 2023, 5Y will operate only eight aircraft. The remaining will fly in a coordinated manner for other cargo companies.

The freighter version of the Boeing 747-8 was the first delivered to airlines back in 2011, not the passenger variant, which needed to wait one year more before going to Lufthansa (LH).

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s enhanced design and engine were sufficient to extend the life of the Jumbo jet by nearly two decades. Despite this, due to the superior performance of competing models like the Airbus A350, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777X, production had to be halted.

The last Boeing 747-8 will still fly for airlines for years to come until the retirement of the last ever Boeing 747, which still has a long journey ahead.

China will finally see the entry into service of the first COMAC C-919 with China Eastern Airlines in 2023. Photo: China Eastern Airlines

First COMAC C919 Entry into Service

The official launch of the world’s first COMAC C919 with China Eastern Airlines (MU) is another Asia-related event that could have intriguing effects on the global industry. The first unit, B-919A, was delivered to the carrier in December 2022, after several delays over the years.

However, it is now experiencing a series of test flights to ensure its safety and viability before becoming service-ready. When finalized, China will see its first home-built domestic passenger airplane transport passengers within its borders.

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Featured image: Andrew Henderson/Airways

Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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