AA11: Boeing's Tinseth confirms decision on narrowbody by 'mid-year'

Hong Kong
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Boeing will make one of its most critical decisions by the middle of the year - whether or not to design an all-new replacement for its best-selling 737.

The airframer's vice president of marketing, Randy Tinseth, said at the show yesterday that choosing between "putting a new airplane on the market by the end of the decade" or re-engining its existing narrowbody as rival Airbus has done with its A320neo, was "very difficult".

He adds: "We are taking our time making this decision, analysing all the technological data as well as what customers want."

Boeing has been under pressure to declare its hand after Airbus late last year announced its "new engine option" version of the A320. Available from 2016 it can be powered by either the CFM International LeapX or Pratt & Whitney's PurePower PW1100G.

Tinseth was revealing Boeing's forecast for the Asia Pacific market which predicts that the region will account for one third of deliveries over the next 20 years, a total of more than 10,000 airliners.

Behind the forecast is an expected air traffic growth of 6.8% for the region, exceeding by a large margin the world average of 5.3%. That will mean 44% of all travel originating in Asia Pacific in 20 years' time, compared with around 34% today, says Tinseth.

"China's air traffic growth is even more dramatic, with a 7.6% increase annually over the next two decades," he says.

Boeing also expects world air cargo traffic to triple by 2030, growing at an annual rate of 5.9% and with the region again leading the way. "Asia will continue to be at the forefront of the air cargo industry," says Jim Edgar, regional director of cargo marketing.