Boeing said Middle East airlines will need 3,350 new aircraft over the next 20 years valued at $730 billion.

The bullish forecast for the region, released at the Dubai Air Show, projects 5.6% annual passenger traffic growth for Middle East airlines over the next two decades. Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-marketing Randy Tinseth pointed out that 85% of the world’s population lives “within an eight-hour flight” of the Gulf.

“Coupled with robust business models and investment in infrastructure, [the geographic position] allows carriers in the Middle East to channel traffic through their hubs and offer one-stop service between many cities,” he said.

Twin-aisle aircraft will make up nearly 50% of the new aircraft delivered to the Middle East over the forecast period. These aircraft will comprise 70% of the value of commercial aircraft received by Middle East carriers ($520 billion), Boeing said. “Both percentages are significantly higher than the global average,” the manufacturer noted.

More than half of the commercial aircraft deliveries to the Middle East over the 20-year period will be single-aisle aircraft, Boeing said. “The region will need 1,770 single-aisle airplanes valued at $190 billion, driven by the growth of low-cost carriers,” Boeing said.

Boeing’s forecast for the region is notably more robust than that of rival Airbus, which last month predicted that Middle East airlines will require 2,590 new aircraft valued at $600 billion over the next 20 years.

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com