Boeing raises long-range forecast

BOEING forecasts a US$3.6 trillion market for new commercial aircraft over the next 20 years as world economies rebound and strong demand for new and replacement aircraft spurs growth. The US aircraft manufacturer foresees a market for 30,900 new commercial passenger and freighter aircraft by 2029.

“The world market is doing much better than last year, but there are still challenges,” said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Looking at 2010, we see a world economy that continues to recover. We expect the world economy to grow above the long-term trend this year. As a result, both passenger and cargo travel will grow this year. Airline revenue and yields are up, but fuel prices remain volatile.”

Boeing projects the world freighter fleet to increase from 1,750 to 2,980, an increase of more than two-thirds and, when factoring in aircraft retirement growth, which will require 2,490 freighters. Those will be made up of 740 new-production freighters (worth $180 billion at today’s list prices) and 1,750 airplanes converted from passenger models.

Large (more than 80 tonnes) freighters will account for 520 new-build airplanes. Medium (40 to 80 tonnes) freighters will total 210 airplanes. Virtually all of the standard-body freighters (less than 45 tonnes) are expected to come from conversions of passenger airplanes.

From the low-traffic base resulting from the recession, Boeing forecasts that world air cargo traffic will increase at an annual average of 5.9 per cent through 2029. Included is the current strong year traffic growth that Boeing estimates will reach nearly 14 per cent over full-year 2009 levels, a significant spike in the 20-year growth projection.

“The inclusion of the high-traffic growth levels in 2010, following the recession, is driving our cargo forecast upward,” said Tinseth. “However, the strength of the industry and its growth will continue to be driven by sound fundamentals, speed and reliability, consumer product innovation and global industrial interdependence.”

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