By Andy Sambidge
US-based aircraft maker says region will require 2,370 new planes over the next 20 years
US-based plane maker Boeing has forecast that the Middle East will require 2,370 new aircraft, worth an estimated $470bn, over a 20-year period from 2012 to 2031.
While 730 airplanes (31 percent) will 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, such as Qatar Airways.
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," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"As the region's leading carriers, such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways, continue their global expansion plans we are 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 - 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 eight percent of forecasted demand.
Regional jets are expected to account for the remaining one percent of the demand.
Globally, Boeing has forecast a long-term demand for 34,000 new airplanes, valued at $4.5trn.
To meet the growing demand for new airplanes, Boeing has increased production of its popular 737, 777 and 787 airplane families.
As of October, Boeing had a backlog of 4,234 airplanes, of which, 337 have been ordered by customers in the Middle East, including Qatar Airways, which recently took delivery of the first of 30 787 Dreamliners it has on order.
Boeing 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 such as Qatar Airways and their ability to successfully leverage natural geographic advantages," Tinseth added.
"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.".For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.