By Rainer Uphoff in Miami

Boeing says that the latest order figures from Latin America confirm its forecast that the region will purchase 1,700 new jet aircraft over the next 15 years.

Speaking to Flight at the 14th annual International Airline Chief Executive Conference, aimed largely at South American, Central American and Caribbean airlines, Boeing’s vide president for Latin America and the Caribbean John Wojick says: “In 2005 we received 67 new aircraft orders from the region and in the first quarter of this year we are accounting 12 new orders. Until 2020, we expect that 1,700 new aircraft with more than 50 seats will go to the region, of which Boeing will deliver an important part.”

Wojick says 70% of the region’s demand will be for narrowbody aircraft with between 100 and 200 seats, while widebodies and regional jets will account for 15% each.

Of the 67 orders placed in 2005, 48 came from Brazilian low-cost carrier Gol. However, the Boeing vice president notes that Aéromexico, Copa Airlines and Lan Airlines also placed important orders.

“The 737 Next Generation is just right for most Latin American customers, as is the Boeing 767 and its successor, the 787 for their long haul routes,” says Wojick. “We are currently talking to carriers in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico about the 787, which is the ideal aircraft for the typically thinner but long routes operated out of Latin America.

“Our main problem is that the first four years of production is already sold out, with no delivery slots being available until 2012,” he adds.

This Latin American interest in widebodies may soon be diverted to Boeing’s single aisle 737, which has lost ground to Airbus’ A320 during the initial boom in Latin American low-cost carriers. “Mexico has several traditional operators flying our aircraft which at some point will be looking at upgrading their equipment,” says Wojick.

“But I am particularly enthusiastic about the recent service entry of our 777 at Aéromexico, an airline which also provides us with a continued flow of new 737 orders.”

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Read more about the 14th annual International Airline Chief Executive Conference, taking place this week in Miami

Source: Flight International