Huge Potential: Boeing Says Middle East Jet Market Is Worth $1.4 Trillion

American commercial aircraft manufacturer Boeing is predicting that over the next 20 years that commercial aircraft sales and related services in the Middle East will be worth more than $1.4 trillion. In its 20-year 2021 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) forecast, released today, Boeing says that it expects airlines in the Middle East to double the size of their fleets to keep up with passenger and cargo demand.

Boeing expects airlines in the Middle East to double the size of their fleets. Photo: Boeing

Boeing says that airlines in the Middle East will require 3,000 new commercial aircraft valued at $700 billion. Boeing also estimates that aftermarkets services such as repairs and maintenance could be worth as much as $740 billion. These predictions are based on the region being well-positioned to capitalize on a recovery in demand for air travel and international cargo services.

Airlines will be looking to renew fleets.

In its 2021 CMO, Boeing says it expects to see two-thirds of new aircraft deliveries going to airlines in the Middle East to accommodate growth. The other one-third of deliveries will be to airlines looking to replace older aircraft with more fuel-efficient planes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777X, and the Boeing 737 MAX. Of the new aircraft deliveries in the Middle East Boeing is predicting that 44% of them will be widebody aircraft for long-haul operations.

Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing thinks that airlines will renew their fleets with more fuel-efficient planes. Photo: Boeing

In the 2021 CMO Boeing managing director of Commercial Marketing for the Middle East Randy Heisey says:

“The Middle East region’s role as a global connecting hub continues to be important for developing markets to and from Southeast Asia, China, and Africa. The region has been a leader in restoring confident passenger travel through multi-faceted initiatives that aid international travel recovery.”

Cargo operations will continue to grow

Boeing says that it sees cargo operations in the Middle East as an area of opportunity for the region’s airlines and expects to see airline airfreight fleets double in size. In 2019 Middle Eastern airlines had 80 dedicated cargo planes. Boeing says that by 2040 that number will increase to 150 aircraft. Since 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, airfreight traffic has increased by nearly 20% thanks in part to two of the world’s top cargo carriers, Qatar Airways Cargo and Emirates SkyCargo being based in the region.

The 2021 Middle East CMO also includes the following projections through 2040:

  • As passenger and cargo demand increases, airlines in the region will grow their fleets to 3,530 jet aircraft
  • Widebody demand will increase with 1,570 deliveries to help support a growing network of long-haul flights
  • The need for single-aisle aircraft is expected to nearly triple from 660 planes to 1,750
  • Maintenence, parts, and repair services together with fleet renewal will continue to increase
  • The region will require 223,000 new aviation personnel made up of 54,000 pilots, 51,000 technicians, and 91,000 cabin crew

The Boeing 777X is expected to be a big seller

With Dubai International Airport (DXB)-based Emirates already having a firm order with Boeing for 115 Boeing 777X aircraft the new twin-engine widebody is expected to be a big seller. This is despite Emirates President Tim Clark expressing his annoyance with Boeing for the delays in deliveries. The 777X program is currently running way behind schedule, with the initial deliveries planned to begin in June 2020.

When speaking with Gulf News ahead of the Dubai Airshow about when we can expect to see the plane enter service Randy Heisey said:

“Our flight test program for the 777X is moving forward very well – we are regularly working with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to meet their expectations and requirements. We are looking forward to entry into service in just two years where it will provide unparalleled capability and efficiency with the lowest seat boss of any airplane in its widebody category.”

What do you think of Boeing’s optimistic outlook for Middle Eastern sales? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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