Asia continues to play a pivotal role in global aviation, including aircraft financing, Boeing told financiers at its Financiers and Investors Conference for Asia and Greater China.

"Asia was clearly the engine that pulled the global aviation sector out of its doldrums in terms of the bulk of the growth, speed of recovery and continued strength," said Kostya Zolotusky, managing director for capital markets development for the company's customer financing unit, Boeing Capital Corporation.

Asian financiers at this year's event numbered 175, representing the company's largest Asia conference to date. Boeing updated its view that Asia has weathered the economic storm better than most economies.

"Today, there's an even greater sense of confidence in the strength of the Asian engine," Zolotusky says.

The company credits Asia's banks as playing an important role in aviation finance, led by China, and including those in Australia, as well as major sector players such as HSBC and Standard Charter Bank.

"Asia's demand was the key. And that includes demand for markets for aircraft, passenger travel and aircraft finance," Zolotusky says.

China's burgeoning aircraft financial markets shines most bright, according to Foster Arata, Boeing Capital VP for Asia and Greater China.

"The Chinese continue to do a lot of aircraft financing inside China, both for operating leases and finance leases, and China's continued to expand globally in both the financing and leasing arenas," said Arata.

As examples, he cited recent financing by ICBC to Qatar Airways for four Boeing 777-300LRs and the acquisition by CDB Leasing and ICBC of aircraft portfolios now resident in Ireland, the world's leading aircraft leasing base, thus expanding the Chinese franchises.

The financing market update came as Boeing also reaffirmed Asia Pacific's leading role in aviation growth.

The region's economy is predicted to increase at a rate of 4.6% per year for the next 20 years. Boeing's latest market outlook says the region over that time will need more than U.S. $1.3 trillion in new commercial airplanes, and the commercial fleet will nearly triple, from 4,110 airplanes in 2009 to 12,200 airplanes in 2029. The region's recent double-digit freight recovery lends credence to predictions that its air-cargo market will lead all global air traffic routes, with domestic Chinese and intra-Asian markets growing at 9.2% and 7.9% per year, respectively.

Source: Commercial Aviation Online