SINGAPORE: Interest from 'handful' of airlines in 747-8 category

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Boeing continues to hold a conservative view of the market for very large airliners and sees interest for only a "handful" of potential customers.

The airframer forecasts 20-year demand for a total of 820 large airliners and freighters in the Airbus A380/747-8 category globally, worth $270 billion. In unit terms this is just 2% of total global demand, increasing to 7% by value.

Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice president marketing, said at the Singapore air show that the bulk of the demand for large aircraft comes from the Asia-Pacific region, with 350 deliveries forecast over the next 20 years. However, he does not see a vast operator base: "We continue to have discussions with a handful of airlines around the world on big airplanes," he said. "There are only a handful of airlines that can operate this type of airplane successfully in a handful of markets - it's not going to have global appeal."

Tinseth said that when Boeing competes in a campaign against the A380 it analyses the customer's route system to establish which aircraft types to offer from its product line. "Sometimes it's 777s, sometimes it's 747-8s - sometimes it's a combination of both. And as you've seen sometimes airlines have opted for both the A380 and the 747-8, which is about 100 seats smaller than the Airbus," he said.