Boeing lifts industry with air show

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A Boeing logo is pictured during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) at Geneva Airport, Switzerland May 28, 2018. Reuters

FARNBOROUGH, (Reuters) – Boeing raised its rolling 20-year industry forecast for passenger and cargo aircraft yesterday, as a steady flow of deals on day two of the Farnborough Airshow underscored the industry’s resilience to rising global trade tensions.

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The world’s biggest planemaker predicted 42,700 industry deliveries over the next two decades, up three percent from its estimate of 41,030 a year ago. That would be worth $6.3 trillion at list prices versus last year’s $6.1 trillion forecast.

The US group and European rival Airbus saw brisk trade on the opening day of the air show near London, and that continued yesterday, with Russian airline Volga Dnepr committing to buying Boeing freighters worth $11.8 billion at list prices, and Airbus announcing a provisional deal with an unidentified customer for 100 A320 family jets.

But analysts said many of the deals firmed up provisional agreements, disclosed previously unidentified buyers or changed existing orders, making it hard to gauge the true level of demand.

Rising oil prices and interest rates, trade tensions and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union all pose a risk to an eight-year boom in civil aviation, which has boosted industry order books and share prices.

Boeing’s forecasts underscored the sector’s reliance on emerging markets in general and China in particular, making the US planemaker especially vulnerable should trade tensions between Washington and China escalate into a full trade war.

Boeing, which calls itself America’s biggest exporter, delivered more than one out of every four jetliners it made last year to customers in China, one of the world’s fast-growing aircraft markets.

Boeing’s vice-president of commercial marketing Randy Tinseth told a news briefing that China looked set to overtake the United States as the world’s biggest domestic air travel market in 10-15 years.

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