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Boeing expects Asian demand to propel growth


Boeing says the world will need 34,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years, mostly driven by increasing demand from Asia.

Boeing has to plan 20 years down the line in an industry where designing and building a plane can take almost a decade. The company says it expects airlines will want even more single-aisle airplanes, like its 737s, which are made in Renton.

Overall, Boeing has upped its forecast for the number of planes that will be needed, even as the current economy continues to limp along.  Boeing marketing executive Randy Tinseth says the big reason is increasing demand from Asia.

"This is a marketplace that will grow at very high rates over the next 20 years, so at the end of the forecast period, this will be by far the largest market in the world," Tinseth said.

Tinseth says Boeing expects airline traffic to grow about 5 percent annually – quite a bit faster than the world economy as a whole. He says the reason is that flying is becoming even more central to our lives – and that’s true in the developing world as well.

Morningstar analyst Neal Dihora says one thing Boeing and Airbus have to watch out for is the rise of China’s own domestic airplane industry.

"If China can get an aircraft up in the air, I think the government is more likely to say hey, why don’t we support the domestic manufacturer and start buying their planes?" Dihora said.

China’s state-run airplane maker known as Comac is building a single-aisle commercial jet. But so far it’s been delayed.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.