Boeing says Southeast Asia needs 4,500 new planes over 20 years

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BOEING CO. said airlines in Southeast Asia will need 4,500 new aircraft over the next two decades to meet demand from the region’s growing middle class.

The expected new orders in the region are worth $710 billion at list prices, the company said Wednesday in its market outlook briefing at the Singapore Airshow.

Regional growth will be driven by carriers from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, which have made the top 10 list of countries that added the most airline seat capacity since 2010, according to Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing.

“With an expanding middle class, in a market that continues to liberalize, coupled with a strong domestic, regional and international tourism sector, Southeast Asia has become one of the world’s largest aviation markets,” Mr. Tinseth said.

The Chicago-based planemaker maintained a bullish outlook amid a decade of supercharged aerospace growth, even after failing to sell any commercial planes in January, extending a slump that has strained the company’s finances since two deadly crashes grounded the best-selling 737 Max.

The jet has been grounded worldwide since March, after a pair of crashes within five months killed 346 people. Global trade tensions, centered on the dispute between the US and China, have also cast a shadow on the company.

The company’s projection underscores the importance of getting the Max — Boeing’s most popular model and the workhorse for many airlines across the world — back in service. It also has to convince customers the jetliner will be safe. — Bloomberg