(MENAFN - Arab News) The Middle East will require 2,370 new airplanes worth an estimated 470 billion, over a 20-year period ending 2031, according to Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, who presented the aircraft's current market outlook (CMO) in Riyadh yesterday.
Tinseth said around 730 airplanes (31 percent) would replace current fleet assets; 69 percent of the demand is expected to be driven by the rapid growth of air travel in the region.
According to the Boeing Current Market Outlook (CMO), long-range, twin-aisle airplanes - such as the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner - will dominate the Middle East's order books, reflecting the global network priorities of the region's leading carriers, including Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Significantly, airlines in the Middle East currently have a backlog of 882 airplanes, 62 percent of which are long-haul, twin-aisle and large aircraft.
"The Middle East has consistently outperformed the global aviation market over the past few years, achieving traffic growth well above the world average," Tinseth said pointing out that the region's leading carriers like Saudi Arabian Airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways continue their global expansion plans. The region is seeing demand for new, efficient, long-haul aircraft, capable of connecting their hubs with any city in the world.
"With a backlog of almost 174,000 long-haul seats, the region's carriers have significantly more long-haul capacity than airlines in other regions such as Europe and Asia," he added.
According to the Boeing forecast, twin-aisle aircraft, such as the Boeing 777 and 787 will account for 46 percent of the region's new airplane deliveries over the 20-year period " as compared to 23 percent globally. Single-aisle airplanes, such as the Boeing 737, will account for 45 percent of regional deliveries through to 2031, while large airplanes such as the Boeing 747 will account for 8 percent of forecasted demand. Regional jets are expected to account for the remaining 1 percent of the demand.
The other highlights of the forecast included the fact that the Middle East also generates its own long-haul origin and destination traffic, with business and leisure hubs in Dubai, historical and resort sites in Egypt, beaches and natural wonders in Oman, and growing Haj pilgrim traffic to Saudi Arabia. Guest workers from South Asia and other regions also boost traffic to the region.
Low-cost carriers, with simplified networks and operations -often flying a single, narrow body airplane type - are taking an increasing share of the region's short-haul traffic.
The single-aisle fleets of airlines like Air Arabia and flydubai can reach many destinations in South Asia, Europe, the CIS, and Africa.
Globally, Boeing has forecast a long-term demand for 34,000 new airplanes, valued at 4.5 trillion. These new airplanes will replace older, less efficient airplanes, benefiting airlines and passengers and stimulating growth in emerging markets and innovation in airline business models. To meet the growing demand for new airplanes, Boeing has increased production of its popular 737, 777 and 787 airplane families.
As of October 2012, he noted that Boeing had a backlog of 4,234 airplanes, of which, 337 have been ordered by customers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabian Airlines. The company currently has a total of 44 airline customers in the region that operate 476 Boeing airplanes.
"The Middle East's continued success can largely be attributed to the strong business fundamentals of carriers, including Saudi Arabian Airlines, and their ability to successfully leverage natural geographic advantages," Tinseth said. "We are confident that our range of market-driving products and solutions will continue to play a critical role in meeting the rapidly growing needs of the region's aviation industry."
Saudi Arabian Airlines has ordered eight 787 and fifteen 777 aircraft and they are yet to be delivered, he said.
"We also forecast a long-term demand for 34,000 new airplanes valued at 4.5 trillion. These new airplanes will replace older, less efficient airplanes, benefiting airlines and passengers and stimulating growth in emerging markets and innovation in airline business models," Tinseth said.
He added that approximately 23,240 airplanes (68 percent of new deliveries) will be single-aisle airplanes, reflecting growth in emerging markets, including China, and the continued expansion of low-cost carriers throughout the world. The twin-aisle segment will also increase, from a 19 percent share of today's fleet to a 23 percent share in 2031. The 7,950 new twin-aisle airplanes will allow airlines to continue expansion into more international markets.