Hong Kong: US aerospace giant Boeing Co is confident it can deliver the first of its repeatedly delayed 787 Dreamliners to All Nippon Airways in the fourth quarter of 2010, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
The company does not expect the global aviation market to recover until 2011 and return to growth in 2012, however, said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing and its European rival, EADS’ Airbus unit, have suffered this year as carriers and air cargo operators grapple with the global recession and the credit crisis.
“Next year will be a year of economic recovery, 2011 will be a year of airline industry recovery and then in 2012, airlines will probably increase their demand for new airplanes,” he told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Asian Aerospace Expo in Hong Kong.
He declined to comment on the World Trade Organization’s ruling that the European Union paid illegal subsidies to Airbus, harming Boeing.
The ruling remains confidential, but Boeing has always been promoting a level playing field.
Boeing has been chastened by embarrassing production glitches for its revolutionary carbon-composite 787, which is set for a test flight by the end of the year under a new schedule issued recently.
The delays have been a blow to Boeing’s credibility and drew criticism from customers.
“There is no question that we disappointed our customers,” Tinseth said. “We have to do one thing (and) that’s deliver.”
Boeing expects to deliver about 480 to 485 aircraft in 2009 with the current backlog of about 3,400.
It will keep production of 737 at 31 units per month but will cut production of long-ranged 777 to five from seven a month from June 2010, he said.
China and the Asia Pacific are expected to take the lead in the industry recovery, Tinseth said.
China is the focus for Boeing and Airbus as the country’s booming economy demands more planes.
The country is expected to take over the United States in a decade to become the largest customer of Boeing, said Rob Laird, vice president of China, East and Southeast Asia sales for Boeing.
It is now the second-largest customer of Boeing behind the United States, he added.