Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boeing airplane sales prediction up to $4.5T

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Boeing is raising its 20-year prediction for airplane sales to 34,000 jets, enough to double the size of the world's fleet, as more people travel in China, India and other emerging markets.

The airplane maker and defence contractor on Tuesday predicted $4.5-trillion worth of planes will be sold. It will compete with Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer and China's state-owned COMAC for the sales.

The projection is 500 planes higher and a half-trillion dollars more expensive than the previous year's estimate. Boeing expects airlines to shift toward slightly larger planes with higher price tags, accounting for most of the additional spending.

The world's airlines fly almost 20,000 planes today. That number is expected to rise to almost 40,000 by 2031, Boeing said.

Boeing and Airbus are both speeding up production to meet a growing order backlog. Airbus, based in France, announced on Monday that it will begin assembling A320s in Alabama, with deliveries to begin in 2016. Boeing is speeding up production of its competing 737.

Boeing said the Asia Pacific region will be the biggest market for new planes, with a potential for 12,030 aircraft there through 2031. The next biggest market is Europe, with 7,760, and North America, with 7,290.

Tinseth said low-cost airlines are stimulating demand for air travel. Those airlines have been especially important in Asia, because they're making air travel affordable for people who previously didn't fly. Boeing predicted global airline traffic will grow five per cent a year for the next two decades.

The company expects half of all airline traffic to begin or end in the Asia Pacific region by 2031, up from 35 per cent today.

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing Co. rose $1.09 to close at $74.27. They are trading near the high end of their 52-week range of $56.01 to $77.83.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 B5

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