Boeing’s projection for more than 35,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years suggests a doubling of the size of today’s airliner fleet and a continuing trend in which airline traffic increases outpace economic growth. The outlook, issued by Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth last Tuesday in Paris, appears to reflect a growing confidence in the fidelity of the positive market indicators the company cited in its 2012 forecast, prompting it to increase its projection for total airplanes by more than 1,000 units and value by some 7 percent.
Demand trends showing continuing vigorous growth in emerging and low-fare markets have convinced Boeing to raise its projection for the single-aisle market by 1,430 airplanes in this year’s outlook, accounting for more than the entire difference between this year’s outlook and last year’s report. Boeing now sees the segment covering 90 to 230 seats generating a demand for 24,670 airplanes worth $2.29 trillion over 20 years. That value represents a disproportionate increase over the increase in Boeing’s unit projections because, as Tinseth explained, a trend toward capacity “upgauging” will result in the sale of somewhat larger, more expensive airplanes in the narrowbody category.
In the widebody segment, which Boeing for the first time divided into three categories, the company’s outlook actually moderated somewhat, particularly compared with its forecast for airplanes in the size category of its 737 Max. Last year Boeing saw total demand for 8,740 of what it then called twin-aisle and large airliners; this year’s projection in the equivalent category, now classified as small, medium-size and large widebodies, calls for a slightly lower demand of 8,590 airplanes, albeit at a slightly higher value. “The twin-aisle market is relatively flat because that’s where we’re going to see, again, additional upgauging,” said Tinseth. “The big segment–the 400-seat [category]–is down about 4 percent. And that is just a reflection of what we’ve seen over the last decade and really where we see demand for big, big airplanes.”
Geographically, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than a third of the 20-year demand forecast by Boeing. Again, this year’s forecast calls for nearly as much demand in the Asia-Pacific region as from Europe and North America combined.
Boeing also appears even more bullish than ever on Latin America and the Middle East, according to the forecast. Last year the company projected a 20-year demand for 2,510 and 2,370 airplanes for those markets, respectively. This year’s forecast shows demand for 2,900 and 2,610 airplanes in those respective regions.