Boeing (BA) is anticipating a huge demand increase in the Middle East over the next 20 years, as the region’s carriers continue to surpass global air traffic rates.

The U.S. jet maker forecasts airlines in the Middle East will need some 2,520 airplanes worth about $450 billion by 2030. The region’s fleet of passenger airplanes will climb 160% to 2,710 airplanes from 1,040 aircraft currently, Boeing says. 

“The Middle East has seen an unprecedented growth in capacity over the past 10 years and every indication points to a further, significantly large increase over the next 20 years," said Boeing’s commercial airplanes’ vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth, who presented the company’s current market outlook at the 2011 Dubai Air Show.

The collective capacity of the region’s top three airlines, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, has grown an average of 23% annually over the past decade, Boeing said.

Some 34% of the demand Boeing expects to see will be for new aircraft replacing older fleets. The majority of the demand will be a part of fleet expansion plans as the airlines gear up for their own increase in demand.

“The Middle East has seen an unprecedented growth in capacity over the past 10 years and every indication points to a further, significantly large increase over the next 20 years."

- Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth

“All three airlines base their growth strategies on the principle that newer, more efficient airplanes will provide a competitive advantage over their rivals from Europe and Asia," Tinseth said.

The projected rise in the Middle East will likely have Boeing busy over the next several years. As of mid-September, Boeing had a backlog of 300 airplanes in the Middle East. Boeing already has about 47 customers in the region that operate some 1,200 flights a day on 425 Boeing planes.

Customers in the Middle East currently account for a large share of Boeing’s twin-aisle backlog, roughly 26% of its 777’s and 15% of 787s on order. With the increase demand, Boeing believes single- and twin-aisle jets will account for 90% of the Middle East’s new fleet deliveries over the next two decades.

Already on order are about 1,160 single-aisle jets, such as the Boeing 737 MAX and 1,110 twin-aisle airplanes, including the Boeing 777 and its new 787 Dreamliner. A smaller amount of orders are for larger aircraft, such as the Being 747-8 Intercontinental. Those larger jets will account for 7% of the projected demand by 2030, Boeing said, and there are already 180 expected in the current delivery. 

About 3% of demand will be for regional jets, the company says.

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