MANILA – I’m still on the road in Asia where I’ve had the opportunity to present media briefings on the commercial airplanes market outlook for the Asia Pacific region - first at Asian Aerospace 2009 in Hong Kong, then in the Philippines, and later this week, in Beijing.
At Asian Aerospace, my colleague Jim Edgar, our Commercial Airplanes regional director, Cargo Marketing, noted that despite unprecedented contraction in cargo traffic, we remain confident in the long-term strength of the market. Asian carriers will add about 750 freighters to the fleet to accommodate growth and airplane retirements.
A model of the COMAC C919 on display at Asian Aerospace.
In Hong Kong we also reported that based on our forecast Asia Pacific will become the largest air travel market on the planet. We think that in 20 years, more than 40% of the world’s airline traffic will involve that region of the world.
In fact we think that in less time than that, maybe less than 10 years, Asia Pacific will rank as the top air travel market.
At the Boeing media briefing in Hong Kong, a lucky drawing winner came away with a 1/100th scale 747-8I model. And that winner was a surprised Charlotte So, business reporter for the South China Morning Post.
After two days of non-stop media interviews at Asian Aerospace I jetted into Manila. Believe it or not, this was my first visit to the Philippines. That’s right. Despite thousands of miles of travel, I’d never before found myself in this part of Southeast Asia.
When I got to Manila, I had just missed some rain showers. Instead, I was impressed by the abundance of sunny hospitality surrounding me. Boeing has a long history of valued partnership with the Philippines dating back to legacy Boeing airplanes in service here since 1946.
This is a burgeoning market where roughly one in ten jobs is supported by travel and tourism. The Philippines welcomed 3.1 million international visitors in 2008.
At a media briefing in Manila, I was joined by more than 40 journalists, with the support of some Philippine Airlines (PAL) executives.
I shared some great conversations in Manila. Here I’m with (L to R) Cesar Chiong, PAL senior assistant VP; Scott Grimsby, Boeing sales director; Nicky Gozon, PAL executive assistant to the president; and Jaimie Bautista, PAL president and CEO.
One of the key things I pointed out was that while the world aviation market is challenging today, overall, Philippine carriers are growing. The Philippines market has seen significant growth over the last 10 years.
There are five new jet operators, and scheduled weekly seats have doubled over the past 10 years (based on Philippine operator departures – August 2009 vs. August 1999). Carriers here serve more than 27 international destinations and have 21 jets on order including four 777s, plus two others on lease
By the way, the Boeing 777-300ER joins the Philippine Airlines fleet this November.
From here, I continue my Asia travels for a while longer. This week, it’s several days of meetings in China with customers and journalists.