Paris Air Show – Aircraft sales will really take off, says Boeing

June 20, 2011


More than 33,500 new aircraft worth £2.4 trillion ($4 trillion) will be needed over the next 20 years as the number of passengers rises threefold.

The astonishing figures come from US aerospace giant Boeing as the Paris Air Show, the world’s largest gathering of aviation industry figures, gets into its stride.

With confidence rebounding among global aerospace players – particularly those serving booming Asian markets – Boeing has upped its industry forecast this year from 2010’s figures of 30,900 sales worth $3.6 trillion. The latest predicted total of new orders is more than double the total number of passenger aircraft now flying.

If correct, that spells good news for Bristol – the city and its hinterland are second only to the area around the French city of Toulouse in terms of its role in the aerospace sector.

Filton is home to Airbus’s wing design and engineering facility, GKN Aerospace’s wing manufacturing site and research and development operations for Airbus parent group EADS.

Rolls-Royce’s nearby engine plant is its main site for defence aerospace but also carries out some commercial aerospace work while a number of small firms are involved in the supply chains of these prime manufacturers.

Bristol’s role in the industry is being further enhanced by the National Composite Centre, now under construction at Emersons Green, which will help the UK maintain its lead in new, lightweight materials for aircraft.

Boeing believes that its forecasts for long-term market growth over the past 10 years have tended to be conservative compared to actual industry performance.

Boeing’s report says: "We have been admirably accurate, however, on the crucial forecast of the market share that each airplane size category will capture. Single-aisle airplanes account for the majority of deliveries over the next 20 years – 70% of the airplanes and 48% of the value. Rapidly expanding air service within China and other emerging economies and the spread of low-cost carrier business models throughout the world drive this market segment."

Boeing's 2011 forecast anticipates 13,360 airplanes will be replaced over the next 20 years. This reflects rising fuel prices and the increasing economic burden of using older, less capable, and less efficient airplanes. At this replacement rate, 85% of the fleet operating in 2030 will have been delivered after 2011.

It says: "The twin-aisle market, which includes efficient long-range airplanes such as the Boeing 787 and 777, is the fastest growing segment of the market, accounting for 22% of the delivery units and 43% of the delivery dollars."

Boeing continues to predict that the greatest demand for new aircraft, by country, will come from the United States, followed by China. Remarkably, the United Arab Emirates, with a population of less than 9 million people, yet home to several highly competitive airlines, will be the third-largest market by value.

However, both Boeing and Airbus face new competition from countries like China and Canada for sales of single-aisle passenger jets in the 150-seat category, the backbone for many fast-growing low-cost airlines.

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice-president of marketing, told a press conference that the core of the aviation market has now moved from North America to the Asian-Pacific market place.

He added that by the end of next year, there will be 12,000 km of high-speed rail lines in China, as much as in the rest of the world. This will dampen some air travel demand but will also promote overall economic growth that should result in further investment in aviation with 97 airports set to open in China by 2020.

Demand for airliners is closely tied to GDP growth and world trade but is further boosted by changes in the behaviour of airline customers, with more people choosing to travel directly to their destination on smaller planes, according to Boeing.

Boeing is predicting the world economy will grow by an average of 3.3% over the next 20 years together with 5.1% average annual growth in passenger traffic and 5.6% in air cargo.



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