Middle East airlines to need 2,945 aircraft in 20 years

Filed on November 18, 2020

Boeing projected a 20-year opportunity for Middle East commercial services valued at $725 billion

Middle East airlines will require 2,945 new aircraft worth $685 billion over the next 20 years as the passenger traffic will grow faster than the global average, US plane maker Boeing said in its latest forecast on Wednesday.

Boeing’s 2020 Pilot and Technician Outlook forecast that the region is estimated to require 223,000 new aviation personnel by 2039 in total, including 58,000 pilots, 59,000 technicians and 106,000 cabin crew members.

Over the next 20 years, it said that passenger traffic growth in the Middle East is projected to increase by an average of 4.3 per cent per year, above the global average of four per cent growth per year.

In addition, Boeing projected a 20-year opportunity for Middle East commercial services valued at $725 billion, including requirements for supply chain and maintenance, repair and overhaul capability focused on newer airplane technologies and software solutions to reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.

“In recent decades, several airlines in the Middle East have leveraged their geographical position to connect rapidly growing Asian economies and the more mature markets in Europe,” said Darren Hulst, vice-president of commercial marketing at Boeing.

“At the historical crossroads connecting Europe, Africa and Asia, the Middle East and its airlines will remain a critical hub of sixth-freedom passenger flows and cargo throughout the 20-year outlook,” he added.

Saj Ahmad, an analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, said it's clear that Boeing sees the region as one of the post-pandemic catalysts for growth, particularly since the Middle East has the fewest number of airplanes that need replacing.

“With that in mind, it's evident that almost two-thirds of the forecast show demand for fragmented routes operated by low cost airlines like flydubai with the 737 and 737 MAX. It also infers that by 2039, Boeing may well have launched an all new single aisle replacement jet too,” said Ahmad.

“Critically, with no rival to the fuel efficient 777X, Boeing's widebody offerings represent the path forward to a wider recovery once global inoculation with the Covid-19 vaccine has taken place as airlines re-establish their route networks on the back of greater demand,” he added.

Boeing said in its latest forecast that the Middle East commercial fleet is expected to reach 3,500 by 2039 – more than doubling the current 1,510 airplanes – to address replacement needs and growth.

Globally, with key industry drivers expected to remain resilient through the forecast’s 20-year period, the commercial fleet is expected to return to its growth trend, generating demand for more than 43,000 new airplanes.

“While aviation has seen periodic demand shocks since the beginning of the jet age, the industry has recovered from these downturns every time as aviation plays an integral role in the global economy,” Hulst added.

“The current market disruption will shape airline fleet strategies long into the future as airlines focus on building versatile fleets that provide future network flexibility, maximizing capability while minimizing risk and improving efficiency and sustainability.”


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