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Boeing says air travel in Oceania to soar; Asia-Pacific traffic to overtake US


Sydney (Thomson Financial) - Air travel in Oceania will grow

by five percent annually over the next two decades while passenger numbers in

Asia-Pacific will overtake those in the US, aircraft maker Boeing Co said.

Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the company had adjusted its forecasting based on the strength in the Asia-Pacific market.

Tinseth said the US would also fall in airline market prominence while demand for low-cost carriers and short-haul aircraft will take off further.

"Looking at numbers of passengers, Asia-Pacific will surpass the North American market in a 20-year period," he said. "We also see more balance from the European segment and continued growth in the Middle East."

Tinseth said the estimate for new planes by 2026 for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands had blown out to 580 planes from last year's estimate of 440 aircraft.

"There is a significant increase, with a great deal of that due to the improving economy (in Australia)," he said.

Although the price of fuel could affect demand, Boeing expected some moderation in fuel pricing in that time, he said.

"Fuel for us has been a double edged sword," he said.

"Fuel prices have been high but economies have been growing well, so airplanes have been profitable in this time of high fuel prices and what that has meant for us is they can afford to replace older airplanes with more efficient aircraft."

Tinseth said Boeing was confident its 787 Dreamliner would be delivered by May 2008 as scheduled, despite the pushing back of its first flight due to production problems.

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