Boeing expects demand for 2,945 new airplanes in the Middle East valued at $685 billion over the next two decades, as the industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The projection is part of Boeing’s 2020 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), an annual forecast of 20-year demand for commercial airplanes and services.
Over the next 20 years, 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 4 per cent growth per year, the US plane-maker said in its report.
“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, Boeing vice president of Commercial Marketing. “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.”
Meanwhile, commercial fleet in the region will more than double to reach 3,500 by 2039. “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,” said Boeing.
Commercial aviation and services markets will continue to face significant challenges earlier in the 20-year forecast, while showing resilience and a return to growth trend over the longer term.
“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,” said Hulst. “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.”
In the near-term, domestic and short-haul markets around the world are expected to recover earlier from pandemic effects. Middle East single-aisle seat capacity more than doubled over the past five years for destinations outside the region. The CMO projects a near tripling of the single-aisle fleet by 2039 to further serve this growing segment of the market.
Since 2000, Middle East carriers have grown their share of world air cargo traffic from 4% in 1999 to 13% as they rapidly grew their widebody passenger and freighter fleets. Freighters represent a continued area of opportunity for Middle East airlines with the fleet projected to nearly double from 80 in 2019 to 150 by 2039.
Boeing projects 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.
Boeing’s 2020 Pilot and Technician Outlook forecasts that the region is estimated to require 223,000 new aviation personnel by 2039, including 58,000 pilots, 59,000 technicians and 106,000 cabin crew members.