Qatar Airways is expected to maintain ‘dynamic’ growth in a region whose air travel will grow by an average of 7.1% a year over the next 20 years, outpacing its projected economic growth rate of 4% over the same period, said a top Boeing executive.
In the last 10 years, Qatar Airways has grown by an average 30% annually, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President (Marketing) Randy Tinseth said.
“They are a world class airline. Middle East airlines, such as Qatar Airways, have consistently led the rest of the world in traffic growth over the past two years and there is every indication that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future,” Tinseth said while presenting Boeing’s ‘Current market outlook’ in Doha yesterday.
Qatar Airways, he said, is currently operating 25 Boeing 777s. The Doha-based airline has another 10 777s on order. The company has committed to 30 new 787 Dreamliners.
Boeing said orders from its customers in the Middle East account for 15% of its order backlog by value. Boeing has a total order backlog valued at $263bn.
The US planemaker also forecasts that airlines in the Middle East will require an estimated 2,340 airplanes worth $390bn by 2029, with demand being driven by the rapid growth of air travel in the region.
As of April 2011, Boeing had a backlog of some 3,445 airplanes, 345 of which have been ordered by customers in the Middle East. However, customers in the region count for a large share of Boeing’s twin-aisle backlog, accounting for 31% of 777s and 15% of 787s on order.
Boeing currently has a total of 47 customers in the region that operate an estimated 1,200 flights per day on 423 airplanes.
Tinseth said: “Over the next 20 years, we expect to see airlines operating at increased frequencies, with a growing number of non-stop flights. With market-driving products and services designed with customers’ needs in mind, Boeing is well positioned to meet the growing needs of the Middle East airline industry.”
Significantly, the growth in the region’s airline fleets is also expected to increase demand for trained pilots with a projected requirement for 32,700 personnel over the next 20 years. Boeing also forecasts demand for 44,500 technicians in the region during this time.
According to the Boeing forecast, twin-aisle aircraft will account for 50% of the region’s new airplane deliveries over the 20-year period - compared to 25% globally.
Specifically, 43% of the airplanes expected to be delivered to airlines in the region over the next 20 years will be twin-aisle jets such as the Boeing 777 and 787. Large airplanes such as the Boeing 747 will account for 7% of demand forecast.
Single-aisle jets such as the Boeing 737 will account for 47% of the deliveries and regional jets will account for the remaining 3%.
“While we expect the global fleet size to double by 2029, Middle Eastern airlines are projected to expand their fleets by more than 150% during the same period. This is a sure indicator that airlines in the region are planning for growth, while also modernising their fleets to improve operating efficiencies,” Tinseth said.
“Their well-coordinated growth and investment plans are already delivering results and Gulf airlines currently have an estimated wide-body order backlog of almost 140,000 seats, which is significantly higher than most other regions in the world,” Tinseth added.
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