Wed, Nov 02, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Boeing executive expects growing demand in Asia

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

Boeing Co is forecasting strong long-term growth for the airline sector, with growing momentum in Asia outpacing other regions as the number of flights increases, a company executive said yesterday.

“This is true not only for the cross-strait market, but also the ASEAN region as a whole,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth told a press conference in Taipei.

The aircraft maker said air travel in Asia through 2030 is projected to grow by 6.6 percent annually, with air cargo growing at an annual rate of just over 6 percent, on the back of average regional GDP growth of 4.4 percent.

That would translate into demand for an additional 2,100 airplanes to meet the growth and another 650 airplanes to replace aging fleets, resulting in activity valued at US$410 billion in total, the company said.

The recent uncertainties in the global economy and higher-than-expected fuel prices have made this year more challenging than expected, but Tinseth said he was confident that strong growth would continue in the air travel sector in the long run.

Boeing estimates that the global airline sector will order an additional 33,500 aircraft over the next 20 years, translating into purchases valued at US$4 trillion.

For Taiwan’s aviation sector, growth in the cross-strait market is playing a key role, he said, adding that Taipei is already positioned as one of the few major hubs to facilitate air travel to cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

“Scheduled air services to China have been an important source of new traffic and revenue for Taiwanese airlines,” Tinseth said. “More than 400 scheduled passenger flights per week fly from Taiwan to China, where services previously had been restricted to chartered flights.”

In addition, the airplane maker said that single-aisle aircraft would be best suited to serve routes across the Taiwan Strait and within Asia.

“Of the 2,750 additional airplanes that Asia would need over the next two decades, 1,720 airplanes, or 62 percent, will be single-aisle airplanes,” Tinseth added.

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