Boeing forecasts steady growth in Asian air traffic

The Boeing Co. is bullish on Asia’s demand for passenger and cargo aircraft in the next 20 years.

During that time, “nearly half of the world’s air traffic growth will be driven by travel to, from or within the Asia Pacific region,” according to the Chicago-based company’s market forecast for the region.

The airplane maker expects single-aisle airplanes to account for 69 percent of new airplanes used in Asia. Boeing’s 737 family has been a mainstay for decades in that market, but it has lost market share to the Airbus A320 family. The European aerospace manufacturer has more orders for 320s than Boeing does for 737s.

But other, smaller jetliner makers could be fighting for some of that market share as well. Bombardier’s CSeries airplanes and Embraer’s E2 jetliners are the most serious competitors. But the largest of those models — the CS300 and the E195-E2 — will only overlap with the smallest 737s and A320s.

“New low-cost carriers and demand for intra-Asia travel have fueled the substantial increase in single-aisle airplanes,” Boeing executive Randy Tinseth said in a news release from the company.

For long-haul traffic, Boeing forecasts twin-aisle airplanes will account for 28 percent of new airplane deliveries.

Boeing expects air travel within China will grow 6.9 percent each year through 2032, while traffic within the rest of the Asia Pacific market will increase about 6.2 percent a year.

The company is forecasting slower growth for air travel in North America and Europe, which both offer more mature markets and have more alternatives to air travel, chiefly road and rail. Nonetheless, they will still make up about 39 percent of the world’s air traffic, down from 52 percent in 2012, according to the company’s forecast.

Airbus and many aviation market analysts share Boeing’s outlook for Asia, but their optimism is being tempered by concerns that the region’s slowing economic growth and currency turmoil could lead to some Asian carriers’ cancelling orders with Boeing and Airbus, reports the Financial Times.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com.

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