Monday, July 14, 2008

More jets crowd Asian skies

Geoff Easdown

July 11, 2008 12:00am

AIRLINES within the Asia-Pacific region will continue to dominate global aircraft sales, buying up to 29,400 jetliners worth $US3.2 trillion ($A3.3 trillion) over the next 20 years, according to Boeing's latest forecast.

The upbeat report notes that because of the fuel crisis single-aisle aircraft will become the biggest sellers with 747 jumbos and larger aircraft occupying a small but significant market.

The market will be driven by increasing demand for airplanes to replace those that are older and less efficient, the manufacturer said in its annual market review, the 2008-27 outlook document.

The document points out that more than 30 per cent of the planes were already ordered because of strong sales over the past three years.

"We're seeing an increasing share of airplane deliveries to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the Middle East, Latin America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)," Boeing marketing chief Randy Tinseth said, releasing the forecast ahead of Britain's annual Farnborough Air Show.

Mr Tinseth, vice-president marketing, acknowledged the industry faced near-term challenges from slowing economies, the fuel crisis and falling traffic growth in some markets.

Mr Tinseth said the aviation market was "extremely resilient", adding that it had faced other challenges, with their own dynamic and own impact on global air travel.

Airlines now were attempting to balance costs and revenues, he said, declaring that the 2008-27 forecast was "rooted in today's realities, but recognised the long-term outlook".

Replacement aircraft comprised 43 per cent of forecast demand compared with 36 per cent previously, due to higher fuel costs, he said.

Boeing believes that 35,800 aircraft will operate around the world within 20 years - almost double the 19,000 at present.

The new planes will accommodate a 5 per cent annual increase in global air travel, and 5.8 per cent rise in cargo traffic.

The 20-year sales forecasts:

2510 regional jets, worth $US80 billion, declining segment jets due to economic, capacity and environmental constraints;

19,160 single-aisle jets, ($US1360 billion) largest segment by unit;

6750 twin-aisle jets,($US1470 billion) largest segment by investment

747 and larger: 980 jumbo 747s and larger ($US290 billion) a small but significant market.

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