[FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom] Boeing on Monday boosted its 20-year forecast for the global aircraft market, lifted by demand from budget carriers and emerging markets, as it revealed a new multi-billion dollar deal to sell planes in China.
Boeing said it expected overall demand for new planes over the coming 20 years to outstrip its previous forecasts by 4.1 per cent, predicting total demand at a combined 39,600 jets worth US$5.9 trillion.
Boeing forecast an average 4.8 per cent annual growth in passenger traffic over the 20 years, with 9,100 new wide body planes to come on stream during that period. It cited strong replacement demand worth an estimated US$2.8 trillion in a peak period from 2021-2028.
"Despite recent events that have impacted the financial markets, the aviation sector will continue to see long-term growth with the commercial fleet doubling in size," Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
Boeing predicted 15,130 new plane deliveries to Asia in the next 20 years, making it the region with the largest slice of the cake.
Boeing's European rival Airbus also revised upwards its own 20-year new planes forecast albeit to a slightly lower level than Boeing.
It sees the market at a total of 33,000 jets worth US$5.2 trillion, up from 32,600 planes worth US$4.9 trillion and equivalent to 4.5 per cent growth per year.
Also Monday, Boeing signed a draft agreement with China's state-owned Xiamen Airlines to sell up to 30 of its 737 MAX 200 planes with a catalogue value of US$3.39 billion.
The accord for the single-aisle twin engine jets, unveiled on the sidelines of the Farnborough air show, requires the approval of Xiamen Airlines board as well as the China Southern Airline Group board and Beijing.
In a statement, Boeing said Xiamen, already a 737 MAX customer, sees the MAX 200 as a fit for its low cost subsidiaries, which include Jiangxi Airlines and Hebei Airlines.
The Chinese are likely to obtain a significant discount on the list price for the planes, as usual in the industry.
"We are pleased with this new milestone in our relationship with Xiamen Airlines," Boeing chief executive Ray Conner said.
"The market-leading efficiency and reliability of the 737 MAX 200 will enable Xiamen and its subsidiaries to expand its growing network, while maintaining an optimal fleet.
Boeing said Xiamen Airlines, a state-owned subsidiary of China Southern Airline, operates an all-Boeing fleet of more than 140 aircraft including six 787 Dreamliners, 130 Next-Generation 737s and four 757s.
The carrier plans to grow its operational fleet to 200 aircraft by the end of the decade, it said.