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Originally published Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Boeing ups 20-year plane market forecast

The Boeing Co. on Wednesday raised its outlook for spending on commercial airplanes over the next 20 years by 14 percent, helped in part...

AP Business Writer

SEATTLE — The Boeing Co. on Wednesday raised its outlook for spending on commercial airplanes over the next 20 years by 14 percent, helped in part by an expected 5 percent rise in worldwide air travel and the demand for new, more fuel-efficient planes.

In its annual forecast, Boeing said it expects 29,400 new planes to enter commercial fleets by 2027, worth an estimated $3.2 trillion. That's higher than last year's outlook, which had called for 28,600 new passenger and freighter planes valued at $2.8 trillion.

Boeing said it expects airlines and leasing companies will replace more aging planes with new ones than previously forecast, as rising fuel costs and other economic factors make newer, more efficient planes more attractive. In 2027, Boeing predicted 82 percent of the world's commercial planes will be ones that do not exist today.

In this year's forecast, Boeing slashed the number of regional jets it expects to enter service in the coming two decades by 32 percent. That's because airlines will look instead to bigger single-aisle and twin-aisle planes, which hold more passengers and are more fuel-efficient.

As a result, the Chicago-based company cut its forecast for total fleet size in 2027 by 1.6 percent to 35,800 from its earlier outlook of 36,400. As of the end of 2007, Boeing said there were 19,000 passenger and freighter planes in service worldwide.

Boeing said Asia will spend more on airplanes in the next 20 years than other regions, and that Europe's spending will equal that of North America for the first time.

Shares of Boeing jumped 54 cents to $66.46 in early afternoon trading.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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