By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief
Ahead of the Farnborough Air Show order fest, Boeing has revised its market forecast upward, saying the world will need 34,000 new airliners over the next 20 years and the business will be worth $4.5 trillion. That's up from a mere $4 trillion predicted in its previous forecast and, as expected, Asia is fueling most of the growth. Boeing says the Asia Pacific region will take more than 30 percent of those aircraft as air travel continues to grow rapidly in emerging nations. "It's incredible to see just how much air travel has changed since I took my first flight back in 1977," said Boeing's VP of marketing, Randy Tinseth. "It has become critical to business and something we do for pleasure, to connect with family and friends. As the market continues to grow, especially in emerging economies, air travel will become affordable to even more people."
Budget carriers will drive much of the growth so Boeing is predicting that more than two-thirds of the market is for single-aisle airliners, chiefly its 737 and the Airbus A320. Twin-aisle models like the 787 and the soon-to-fly A350 will account for about 8,000 units. About 2,020 regional airliners will be needed and 790 large (747/A380) airliners will be sold. Only about 940 new freighters will be ordered but about 1,120 older airliners will be converted to freight.