U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing has predicted that airlines in the Middle East will require some 3,180 new airplanes over the next 20 years, as air traffic in the region continues to boom. The world's largest planemaker, based on the number of deliveries, said demand for new aircraft would be driven by rapid fleet expansion from Gulf carriers. It said the industry is expected to be worth around $730 billion by 2035. "Traffic growth in the Middle East continues to grow at a healthy rate and is expected to grow 6.2 percent annually during the next 20 years," said Vice President of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Randy Tinseth, in a statement on Wednesday morning. His comments come ahead of the biennial Dubai Airshow this weekend.
Airline demand for single-aisle airplanes or narrow-body aircraft such as the Airbus A320 or the Boeing 737 are predicted to see the most growth, with new deliveries expecting to reach over 1400 new planes, according to Boeing. These smaller planes are increasingly popular as the likes of low-cost carrier Air Arabia continue to see solid customer demand and replace older, less-efficient airplanes.
Twin-aisle aircraft will account for a little under half of the region's new airplane deliveries over the 20-year period, compared to 23 percent globally, it said. "About 80 percent of the world's population lives within an eight-hour flight of the Arabian Gulf. This geographic position, coupled with diverse business strategies and investment in infrastructure is allowing carriers in the Middle East to aggregate traffic at their hubs and offer (a) one-stop service between many city pairs that would not otherwise enjoy such direct itineraries," Tinseth added.