Boeing sees $5.9 trillion aircraft market despite recent turmoil

'The aviation sector will continue to see long-term growth with the commercial fleet doubling in size.'

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Airlines will order new planes valued at $5.9 trillion over the next two decades to keep pace with rising air travel as more people take to the skies in emerging nations such as China, according to a Boeing forecast.

Looking past recent economic turmoil from Brexit to a commodities crash that has spooked aerospace investors, Boeing boosted its long-term forecast 4.1 per cent from a year earlier, predicting total sales of 39,620 jetliners across the industry.

“The aviation sector will continue to see long-term growth with the commercial fleet doubling in size,” despite the recent events affecting financial markets, Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, said in a statement. The planemaker expects passenger traffic to grow 4.8 per cent a year, close to the sector’s historic 5 per cent average.

About $3tn of the projected orders will come from single-aisle aircraft such as Boeing’s 737-800 and Airbus’s A320, according to Boeing’s commercial market outlook. About 28,140 new airplanes will be needed in that segment, with low-cost carriers and emerging markets continuing to drive growth.

The US planemaker said it also expects to see a wave of wide-body orders next decade as airlines replace the twin-aisle jets that ferry travellers across the Pacific and on other long-range routes. The company sees demand shifting from the largest long-haul jets, such as its 747 jetliner, to smaller aircraft.

Boeing expects sales to be concentrated in the 200- to 300-seat segment of the market, where the company sees demand for 5,100 wide-body jets. The planemaker is studying a new family of aircraft targeting much of this segment, which it has dubbed the middle of the market.

The manufacturer lowered a forecast of medium wide-body orders by 1.4 per cent to 3,470 from a year earlier, and trimmed anticipated sales of very large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo by 1.9 per cent to 530 sales.

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