Chicago / London: Aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. raised its 20-year forecast for world commercial jetliner deliveries by 2.8% as carriers struggling with soaring oil prices upgrade their fleets with fuel-efficient models and global air travel increases.
Plane makers will deliver about 29,400 jetliners in the period, compared with the 28,600 predicted a year ago, Boeing said in a statement on Thursday as the industry gathers for the Farnborough Air Show next week outside London. The forecast represents sales of $3.2 trillion (Rs138.2 trillion), up from $2.8 trillion forecast in 2007, said Boeing, the world’s No. 2 commercial plane maker.
The higher fuel costs will push up demand for replacement planes, which will make up 43% of the total, even as a 5% annual increase in air travel spurs fleet expansion, Boeing said.
“Long-term, you have to assume that the emerging countries of Brazil, China, India and Russia are going to continue to grow as a larger percentage of the world’s fleet, and they’re growing at a faster rate,” said Peter Arment, Greenwich, Connecticut-based analyst with American Technology Research Inc.
Orders from Asian airlines will account for 31% of the deliveries, with carriers from North America making up 29% and 27% coming from Europe and Russia, Randy Tinseth, the marketing chief for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said at a London press briefing.
Latin American carriers will order 6% of the total and West Asian airlines 5%.
Boeing had said last year that replacement planes would make up 36% of the total — a smaller portion than forecast on Thursday.
Airlines will start switching to slightly larger and more fuel-efficient single-aisle planes, such as newer versions of the 737s and A320s, from regional aircraft used now, Tinseth said, predicting sales of 19,160 single-aisle jets.
The switch will produce a smaller total fleet, at 35,800 planes rather than the 36,400 projected last year. That compares with 19,000 aircraft flying worldwide now.
The forecast for deliveries of aircraft with more than 400 seats rose to 980 planes from an earlier projection of 960. That category includes passenger and freighter versions of Boeing’s 747 and Airbus’s new 550-seat A380.
Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co., said in February it expects airlines to buy 24,300 planes worth $2.8 trillion during the next 20 years.
Around 1,300 very large passenger aircraft will be needed to link hub cities, Airbus had said then.
Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France contributed to this story.