Boeing is forecasting that airlines in North America will take delivery of about 7,200 new airliners over the next 20 years at an investment...

Boeing is forecasting that airlines in North America will take delivery of about 7,200 new airliners over the next 20 years at an investment of $700 billion.

The company says new-aircraft deliveries in Canada and the United States will be driven largely by the need to retire older, less fuel-efficient, single-aisle aircraft and regional jets as airlines replace them with new-generation, more fuel-efficient models. (For the purposes of the Boeing forecast, the North America market consists of the U.S. and Canada. Mexico is included in Boeing’s forecast for Latin America.)

“North America is a large, mature market, and we expect passenger traffic for the region to grow at a modest rate of 3.4 per cent,” says Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in releasing Boeing’s 2010 North America market outlook on September 2 in Montreal. “The fast-paced lifestyles in Canada and the U.S. require rapid, frequent and reliable coast-to-coast and interregional transportation. Driven by this demand, nearly three-quarters of the new deliveries over the next 20 years will be single-aisle airplanes.”

A new Delta Air Lines 737-700 was the first Boeing Next-Generation 737 to receive carbon brakes, in August 2008. Delta operates 10 Boeing 737-700s and also has 73 Boeing 737-800s in its fleet

Taking retirements of aircraft into account, the North American airline fleet will grow from 6,590 aircraft today to about 9,000 aircraft by 2029, according to Boeing.

Boeing forecasts that the proportion of single-aisle aircraft in the North America fleet will grow from 56 per cent of the total North America fleet today to 71 per cent by 2029. Airlines are increasingly focusing on aircraft age as fuel-thirsty, older aircraft weigh increasingly on earnings, says the company. Increased attention to aviation’s impact on global climate change also will be a factor in selecting aircraft that produce lower carbon emissions.

Newer jet types such as the Next-Generation 737 offer significant advantages in environmental performance as well as improved capabilities, fuel efficiency and maintenance costs, according to Boeing.

“After several years of losses among the region’s air carriers, we’re seeing signs of improvement and airlines are beginning to implement fleet renewal plans as they look to the future,” says Tinseth. “To help meet this demand, Boeing Commercial Airplanes will continue to work closely with our more than 500 suppliers and partners in Canada. Boeing imports parts and services from Canada amounting to more than a billion U.S. dollars a year, more than $625 million of which is associated with Boeing Commercial Airplanes.”

Twin-aisle fleets will evolve in the region as airlines continue to expand international point-to-point services to a wider range of airport pairs and frequencies, says Boeing. Small- and mid-sized twin-aisle jets will grow to represent 19 per cent of the North America fleet by 2029.

Within the North America market, Boeing sees a demand for 1,180 new, efficient twin-aisle jets such as the 787 Dreamliner. Twin-aisle jets will account for only 16 per cent of total airliner demand in the region over 20 years but will have a proportionally higher share of delivery cost, at 37 per cent of the overall investment.

Large aircraft (747-size and larger) will not see significant demand in North America, with only about 40 units (all freighters), or 1 per cent of the total investment, Boeing believes.

The company also forecasts declining demand for regional jets in North America as airlines shift to more fuel-efficient turboprops or larger jetliner models. High fuel prices, intensified competition and the superior efficiencies of larger single-aisle aircraft will take a toll on the economics of small regional jets. This category will account for just 4 per cent of the total investment for new aircraft, with only 800 new regional jet deliveries over the next 20 years, nearly all for replacement, in Boeing’s view.

More information on the North American market forecast can be found at