Boeing Says Asia Pacific to Drive Air-Traffic Growth


SINGAPORE--Airlines in the Asia Pacific will take 36% of all commercial aircraft manufactured over the next 20 years, said plane maker Boeing Co., fueled by highly aggressive budget airlines that are enabling many travelers to fly for the first time.

The region will need 12,820 new airplanes valued at $1.9 trillion through 2034, Boeing said in its annual forecasts released Monday. Of the new deliveries, 75% of the planes will be used to boost capacity while only 25% will replace older jets, according to Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice president for marketing.

Nearly half of the world's air-traffic growth will be driven by the Asian-Pacific region and the region's airlines will nearly triple the size of their fleets to a total of 14,750 jets by 2032 from 5,090 in 2012, he said.

Mr. Tinseth said the aircraft maker expects to hit another record in terms of plane deliveries this year, at around 715 to 725 jets, up from 648 aircraft in 2013, also a record year.

The deliveries aimed for this year include 110 units of the 787 Dreamliners that are the latest Boeing aircraft in production.

Meanwhile, the Chicago-based company is stepping up its monthly rate of production of its 737 single-aisle jets to 42 by the middle of this year from 38 in 2013. By 2017, the company will make 47 units of the 737 jets every month.

Single-aisle jets that typically carry about 160 passengers will drive the bulk of new jet orders, Mr. Tinseth said, adding that jets such as Boeing's 737 and the A320 made by rival Airbus Group will represent 69% of the new planes delivered to the region.

Asia's biggest budget airlines Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd. and Indonesia'sLion Air have ordered planes aggressively in the past few years and now have more than 1,000 jets to be delivered over the next decade.

Budget airlines, which were practically unheard of in Asia Pacific a decade ago, now account for 24% of the total seats in the region. Such airlines typically use single-aisle jets to fly to routes up to five hours, which helps them use each aircraft for more flights and increase efficiency.

Boeing believes widebody jets such as the 787 Dreamliner and 777 will account for 28% of all aircraft deliveries. Widebody jets that seat 300-500 passengers typically fly on long-haul routes.

Boeing launched the 777X last November at the Dubai Airshow and the 787-10, a stretched version of the Dreamliner, at the Paris Air Show in June last year. Among Asian customers, Singapore Airlines Ltd. ordered 30 of the 787-10 jets at its launch and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. recently ordered 21 of the 777-9X planes.

Write to Gaurav Raghuvanshi at gaurav.raghuvanshi@wsj.com

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