Vice president, Boeing International and president, Boeing Middle East, Bernie Dunn

Foreseeing tremendous growth globally and within the MENA region, vice president, Boeing International and president, Boeing Middle East, Bernie Dunn gives insight to Panayiotis Markides about the aviation sector, and how the company remains a key player of the industry in an ever-growing region

TTG: How is the aviation industry set to grow over the next five years? What trends can we expect?

The industry continues to grow rapidly and over the course of the next 20 years, we forecast long-term demand for 36,770 new aeroplanes globally, valued at $5.2 trillion. We project that 15,500 of these aeroplanes (42 per cent of all new deliveries) will replace older, less efficient aeroplanes. The remaining 21,270 aeroplanes will be for fleet growth, which stimulates expansion in emerging markets and development of innovative airline business models. Single-aisle aeroplanes such as the 737 MAX continue to command the largest share of the market and approximately 25,680 new single-aisle planes will be needed over the next 20 years. Fast growing low cost carriers pressed to replace ageing aeroplanes drive single-aisle demand, while the widebody fleet will need 8,600 new aeroplanes.

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The new generation of super-efficient planes such as the 787 is helping airlines open new markets that would not have been economically viable in the past. The 787-10 will be the third and longest member of the family. With its greater passenger and cargo capacity, the 787-10 will be 25 per cent more efficient than aeroplanes of its size today.

We expect the industry both in the region and globally to continue to grow steadily this year and are well positioned to support and enable this expected growth.

Meanwhile, this region will require 2,950 new aeroplanes, worth an estimated $640 billion. While, 46 per cent of these aircraft are expected to be single-aisle such as the 737MAX, while 37 per cent is expected to be for twin-aisle aeroplanes such as the Boeing 777s and the 787 family and the 747-8.

The Gulf is a rapidly growing region for aviation which results in higher demand for aircraft. It is a key market for Boeing and holds potential for ongoing growth in the aerospace sector including aircraft, infrastructure expansion, services and financing. Boeing is keen to continue participating in the ambitious growth plans of this region by providing the right products and services to its customers while also establishing strong and enduring business, industrial and social partnerships.

TTG: Please explain how Boeing is ideally placed to cater to this growth?

Boeing is committed to offering aeroplanes and services that deliver superior design, efficiency and value to our customers and the highest quality flying experience to their customers. Our evolving product line will continue to deliver a reduction in airport noise, efficiencies, as well as providing passenger-preferred comfort while delivering superior bottom-line performance to operators.

Demand for planes will continue to increase in the Middle East market in response to the continued growth of the region’s aviation industry, and we are well positioned to support the region in its efforts to become a global transportation hub.

For example, customers in the region have responded very well to the 777X, which will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world. The Middle East currently has a backlog of 225 777X from three customers, Emirates Airline (150), Etihad Airways (25) and Qatar Airways (50).

Meanwhile, the 787, which has recorded 156 orders in the Middle East to date, is considered the world’s most technologically advanced aeroplane with composite materials making up 50 per cent of the primary structure by weight, including the fuselage and wing. In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to midsize airplanes, the 787 provides unrivaled fuel efficiency, using 20 per cent less fuel than today’s similarly sized aeroplanes. 787 customers in the region include Oman Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines, ALAFCO, Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Etihad Airways, and Iraqi Airways. We are excited by the potential of the 787-10 and this sentiment is shared by Etihad Airways, one of the world’s largest airline customers for the Dreamliner family. Etihad Airways has demonstrated its confidence in the 787-10 with a total of 30 787-10s on order, out of a total order of 71 from the Dreamliner family.

The region also has a backlog of 95 737 MAX aircraft from two customers, ALAFCO (20) and flydubai (75) and deliveries to customers are set to begin in 2017. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX 7 will be capable of flying more than 7037km, extending the range over today’s 737-700 by approximately 741km.

TTG: How has the MENA region earned its wings as a key player in the aviation sector?

The last 20 years have seen the MENA region become a critical part of the global aviation sector. Thanks in large part to the Middle East’s unique geographical location at the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe, the region has an advantage in competing for traffic, which develops the economies and booming demand in neighbouring regions. Along with local demand, this situation works together to drive growth in the Middle East market.

Hub aggregation is also a key to enabling growth, because the region’s central hubs allow carriers to serve hundreds of routes that have insufficient traffic to warrant point-to-point service. Alliances, partnerships, and equity stakes in airlines of neighbouring regions also feed the Middle East hubs.

The Middle East is a rapidly growing region for aviation which results in higher demand for aircraft. It is a key market for Boeing and holds potential for ongoing growth in the aerospace sector including aircraft, infrastructure expansion, services and financing. Boeing is keen to continue to support the region’s ambitious growth plans by providing the right products and services to its customers while also establishing strong and enduring business, industrial and social partnerships.

TTG: How is the aviation industry a vital component of the global economy?

Tourism and trade rely heavily on the aviation industry. The growth in the middle classes in the emerging economies of the world is being met with a similar boom in air transport. The role of air transport in world trade is critical. High value and perishable goods being transported by cargo airlines are of great importance for the jobs they support globally, while global supply chains are linked by air, as well as international retail. At the centre of this movement of products, services and people, the aviation industry plays a pivotal role in the global economy.