Sat, Oct 24, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Northeast Asian air traffic can expect to see growth: Boeing

GROWING CAPACITY:A Boeing spokesman said that major regional hubs such as Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul had added more than 80 flight destinations over 10 years

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Boeing Co yesterday predicted air traffic to and from Northeast Asia to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the next two decades and that regional airlines will need 1,450 new airplanes valued at more than US$310 billion to keep up with the rising demand for this year to 2034.

Carriers of the Northeast Asia region, which encompasses Japan, Korea and Taiwan, have maintained resilient growth despite the current economic downturn, the company said at a media briefing in Taipei.

“Wide-body airplanes continue to be the heart of the Taiwanese market and that trend will continue as new airplanes such as the 777-300ER and in the future, 787 Dreamliners enter into service,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth said.

About half of the new airplane deliveries for Northeast Asia are small to medium-sized widebody airplanes, such as the 787 and 777, while another 43 percent are likely to be narrow-body airplanes, such as the Next-generation 737 and 737 MAX, Tinseth said.

“Major airport hubs in the region, including Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei, have added more than 80 destinations over the past 10 years. During that span, seat counts per flight have been reduced in each city. Clearly the market is trending towards smaller, more efficient airplanes with more frequent service between cities,” he said.

Although low cost carriers in Northeast Asia have recorded double-digit growth in flight frequency since 2010, conventional airlines still maintain their hold on the market share, Tinseth said.

“We are also watching closely how rapid development in high-speed rail systems in China and throughout Asia will affect demand for passenger flights,” he said, adding that the company is still mulling over offering smaller short-haul regional aircraft.

The US company also confirmed that it is in the midst of finalizing a purchase of 24 787-10 Dreamliners and two 777-300 Extended Range, and that the process would be completed in a matter of weeks.

Tinseth said that the rising competitiveness of aerospace suppliers, such as Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC, 漢翔航空工業) who have said they need to cut prices by about 10 percent each year or risk losing orders, reflects what has been exacerbated by wide swings in foreign exchange rates.

“We must all do more with less,” he said.

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