More Growth To Come from Middle East, Say Boeing and Airbus

 - November 21, 2011, 10:50 AM
More than 40 percent of new Middle East airliners will be twin-aisle, says Airbus.

Boeing and Airbus are in broad agreement over the impressive growth rate expected in the Middle East airliner fleet between now and 2030, according to new market forecasts released during the Dubai Air Show last week.

According to Boeing’s latest current market outlook, airlines in the region will require 2,520 aircraft worth a combined $450 billion through 2030. Airbus, which excludes aircraft with fewer than 100 seats, sees demand over the same period as extending to 1,921 airliners worth a combined $347.4 billion. 

Boeing also predicts that the overall Middle East fleet will increase by 160 percent from today’s levels, rising from 1,040 to 2,710 aircraft by the end of 2030. Having excluded sub-100-seat regional jets, Airbus sees even faster growth (182 percent), with the fleet expanding from 800 to 2,260 aircraft.

Boeing believes that 34 percent of the new aircraft will replace existing models, while the remaining 66 percent will represent fleet expansion.

“The collective capacity of three airlines—Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways—has grown by an average of 23 percent annually over the past decade, and we expect this trend to continue well into the future,” commented Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’s marketing vice president. “All three airlines base their growth strategies on the principle that newer, more-efficient airplanes will provide a competitive advantage over their rivals from Europe and Asia.”

Of Airbus’s projected 1,921 new aircraft, only 39 will be freighters. Of the remaining 1,882 passenger airliners, 41 percent will be single-aisle aircraft such as the A320, 43 percent will be twin-aisle such as the new A350XWB and 16 percent will be very large aircraft such as the A380. The European airframer believes that three quarters of the new orders will be for fleet expansion.

“The Middle East remains one of the world’s most robust aviation regions and this is confirmed by a 200-percent increase in inter-regional passenger traffic over the last 10 years,” said John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers. “The region is uniquely placed with more than 85 percent of the world’s population within reach of a direct flight, making the Middle East a fertile market place for our eco-efficient aircraft today and beyond.”

Over the next 20 years, Airbus forecasts that Middle East passenger traffic will grow by an average of 6.4 percent annually, compared with a worldwide average rate of 4.8 percent.