Boeing Bullish on Asia-Pacific Market Growth

 - February 10, 2014, 5:40 AM
Indonesia’s Lion Air operates Boeing 737s in Southeast Asia.

Boeing delivered a bullish market forecast for airplane sales in the Asia-Pacific region on February 10, citing strong anticipated economic and passenger growth over the next 20 years. The manufacturer expects that the region’s gross domestic product will grow at 4.5 percent annually over the next two decades, fueling annual passenger traffic growth of 6.3 percent and cargo growth of 5.8 percent. The size of the Asia-Pacific airline fleet will nearly triple, to 14,750 in 2032 from 5,090 airplanes in 2012, to satisfy the demand.

Over the forecast period, Asia-Pacific airlines will require 12,820 new airplanes, valued at $1.9 trillion, which will represent 36 percent of the world’s new-airplane deliveries, said Boeing. At the leading edge will be low-cost carriers acquiring single-aisle airplanes such as the Boeing 737NG and re-engined 737 Max.

Today, the region’s low-cost carriers provide about 10 percent of available seat kilometers (ASKs), a measure of passenger-carrying capacity. Boeing expects them to double their market share by 2032. In Southeast Asia specifically, the ASKs low-cost carriers provide will, it predicts, grow from 22 percent to more than 40 percent.

“As we look at demand, the largest market moving forward will be the demand here in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing. “When it comes to single-aisle airplanes, this will be the biggest market. When you think of widebody aircraft, this will be the biggest market. When you think of large airplanes, this will be the biggest market. When you think of freighters – guess what, this will be the biggest market.”

Speaking at a media briefing before the opening of the Singapore Airshow, Tinseth said Boeing received net orders for 1,355 aircraft and delivered 648 last year. The deliveries included 65 Dreamliners, despite “some real challenges” resulting from lithium-ion battery incidents that led worldwide aviation authorities to ground the 787 for nearly four months.

There are now 121 Dreamliner 787-8s in service, 88 of them flown by Asia-Pacific airlines, reported Tinseth. He said 787 dispatch reliability is “around 98 percent.” The manufacturer expects to deliver the first 787-9 version to Air New Zealand by the middle of the year.

Boeing projects that it will deliver between 715 and 725 airplanes this year, including 110 copies of the 787. It will ramp up production of 737 narrowbodies from 38 a month to 42 by the middle of the year. “We’re increasing our production rates to meet demand in the marketplace,” Tinseth said.