Air Canada 777. Photo: Courtesy, Air Canada.

Boeing forecast Thursday that North American airlines will take delivery of about 7,200 new aircraft valued at $700 billion over the next 20 years. Around 75% of new deliveries will be narrowbodies, it said.

It said the North American fleet will grow 29.5% from 6,590 aircraft currently to 9,000 by 2029, taking retirements into account. The single-aisle share is projected to rise from 56% to 71% of the fleet by 2029.

"New airplane deliveries in Canada and the United States will be driven largely by the need to retire older, less fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes and regional jets, as airlines replace them with new-generation, more fuel-efficient models," the manufacturer stated. It noted that its North American forecast does not include Mexico.

VP Marketing Randy Tinseth said there are "signs of improvement" evident in the North American airline market, adding that carriers "are beginning to implement fleet renewal plans as they look to the future."

Boeing forecast demand for 1,180 widebodies in North America over the next 20 years. "Twin-aisles will account for only 16% of total airplane demand in the region over 20 years but will have a proportionally higher share of delivery cost at 37% of the overall investment," it said. "Twin-aisle fleets will evolve in the region as airlines continue to expand international point-to-point services to a wider range of airport pairs and frequencies. Small- and mid-sized twin-aisle airplanes will grow to represent 19% of the North America fleet by 2029."

It said 747-size and larger aircraft "will not see significant demand in North America with only about 40 units (all freighters), or 1% of the total investment." Currently only two major North American passenger airlines—United and Delta—operate 747s. No North American passenger airline has ordered the 747-8 or the A380.

Boeing predicted "declining demand for regional jets in North Americaas airlines shift to more fuel-efficient turboprops or larger jetliner models." It said the region's carriers will take delivery of 800 new RJs over the next two decades, "nearly all for replacement."