August 14, 2022

Boeing Raises Forecast for Commercial Airplane Demand

PARIS — Boeing on Thursday raised its long-range forecast for commercial aircraft demand, citing expectations that annual increases in passenger and cargo traffic — particularly in Asia — would continue to outpace average global economic growth over the next two decades.

The U.S. plane maker predicted that airlines would buy 33,500 new jets through 2030. That represented an increase of 8.5 percent from its previous forecast of 30,900 planes made last July as airlines were just beginning to emerge from a downturn triggered by the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Boeing, based in Chicago, said the new orders would be worth $4 trillion, up 11 percent from the $3.6 trillion forecast a year ago.

“The world market has recovered and is now expanding at a significant rate,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing’s commercial airplanes division. “Not only is there a strong demand for air travel and new airplanes today, but the fundamental drivers of air travel — including economic growth, world trade and liberalization — all point to a healthy long-term demand.”

The 20-year forecast from Boeing was announced in advance of the Paris Air Show, which opens Monday at Le Bourget airport, north of the capital. It compares with one published by Airbus in December, which predicted sales of 26,000 commercial planes through the end of 2029, with a market value of $3.2 trillion.

The International Air Transport Association, a trade group based in Geneva, predicted this month that carriers would report a collective profit of around $4 billion this year after recording a $18 billion profit in 2010. The industry lost a combined $26 billion in the 2008-2009 period.

Boeing predicted global gross domestic product growth would average around 3.3 percent per year over the next 20 years, with the economies of China and India each expected to expand by around 7 percent annually. Global air traffic was likely to continue growing at an average yearly clip of just over 5 percent. Within the Asia-Pacific region, air traffic was likely to grow by an average of 7 percent a year, Boeing said, compared with just 2.3 percent annual growth within North America and 4 percent within Europe.

“We expect passenger traffic to almost triple over the next 20 years, while cargo will more than triple,” Mr. Tinseth said.

The vast majority of new aircraft sales — around 70 percent — would be of single-aisle planes like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, which normally seat around 150-200 passengers, Boeing said. Twin-aisle wide-bodies like Airbus’s planned A350-XWB and the forthcoming Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” would represent about 22 percent.

The single-aisle segment is the most hotly contested for both Boeing and Airbus, which each claim roughly 50 percent of the market. But the two companies are expected to begin to face competition at the beginning of the next decade when other manufacturers — including Bombardier of Canada, Comac of China and Embraer of Brazil — are expected to start deliveries of jets that can seat similar numbers of passengers to the 737 and the A320.

Boeing said it expected single-aisle jet sales over the next 20 years would reach $1.9 trillion, surpassing an expected $1.8 trillion for wide-bodies.

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