Global demand for airline service lifts airplane forecast to new high

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An Boeing 737Max 9 aircraft performs a flying display on the opening day of the 52nd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, on June 19, 2017 in Le Bourget, France.

The world wants to fly, or at least a growing number of people around the world do and that’s lifting forecasts for new planes, especially narrow-body models, to an all-time high.

“The market is especially hungry for single-aisle airplanes as more people start traveling by air,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing’s new forecast predicts the world will need 41,039 new airplanes over the next 20 years. That is 3.6 percent increase over the company’s forecast from last year.

What’s driving the greater demand?

A huge factor the rise in middle income travelers in developing markets like China and India.

“There are more people, especially in Asia, who now have the means and the desire to fly,” said John Plueger, president and CEO of Air Lease Corporation, which leases hundreds of airplanes to airlines around the world. “That growing middle class means airlines will need more planes.”

Single-aisle planes like Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320 are in demand because they have the efficiency and versatility that allow airlines to fly the planes profitably on a growing number of routes. By comparison, larger, twin aisle planes require more passengers to keep them full and the number of routes that can sustain that demand is more limited.

Not surprisingly, China remains the largest market for new airplanes….

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