LE BOURGET, France -- Boeing Co. has lifted its annual 20-year forecast for plane deliveries to 41,030 jetliners with a value for the first time topping $6 trillion at list prices.
Boeing, the world's No. 1 plane maker, said Tuesday that passenger traffic is poised to grow 4.7% over the next two decades. The outlook is more bullish than one European rival Airbus SE delivered this month, which projected 4.4% growth.
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More than half the planes Boeing expects to deliver are intended to help airlines expand. The plane maker said the rest, about 43%, will be used to replace less efficient planes being phased out. Almost 40% of the planes will go to customers in Asia, driven heavily by booming air traffic in China.
Growth will be strongest in the hotly contested single-aisle segment where Boeing offers the 737 family of planes and Airbus the A320 variants.
"The market is especially hungry for single-aisle airplanes as more people start traveling by air," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing's commercial airplanes.
Boeing expects 29,530 new narrowbody planes to make it into customer hands. On Monday, it launched its largest single-aisle plane, called the 737 Max 10, and said it had more than 10 customers committed to buying it.
The Chicago-based plane maker said it expects demand for widebody planes, where it offers the 787 Dreamliner and 777 models, to reach 9,130 airplanes. Order bookings have slowed for big twin-engine planes over recent months but Boeing said there is "a large wave of potential replacement demand beginning early in the next decade."
The Boeing and Airbus outlooks are broadly similar, though the U.S. manufacturer counts smaller planes not in its rival's outlook. One segment where the two plane makers differ is in their demand forecast for the biggest passenger planes, where Boeing offers the 747-8 and Airbus its flagship A380 superjumbo.
Boeing said demand for that size plane will be principally in the cargo segment and that fewer than 100 passenger models of that type will be delivered during the coming 20 years. Airbus says more than 1,400 such planes will be delivered, including cargo models.
Both Airbus and Boeing have been forced to cut production rates of their biggest planes because of demand softness.
Boeing has shifted its focus to big twin-engine planes that can seat more than 400 passengers. By contrast, Airbus officials insist the market for its big, four-engine plane will recover. It used this week's Paris Air Show to unveil plans for enhancements to the plane's massive wing to help boost fuel efficiency 4% as the latest in a series of design tweaks to help lure customers. So far those efforts have yielded no tangible results.
Airbus plane head Fabrice Brégier said the plane maker was in active talks for further A380 deals, though timing of when they would be completed remained uncertain. He expressed confidence the A380 would secure further orders once demand for big planes recovers.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 20, 2017 03:54 ET (07:54 GMT)