The chief executive of Boeing’s commercial jet division on Monday sought to dispel some of the pessimism at this year’s Paris Air Show, arguing that the global economy was showing signs of a recovery and predicting a resumption of global growth in airline traffic as early as 2010 according to the New York Times.
“At this point it appears to us that the economic conditions have bottomed,” said Scott E. Carson, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“There remains some risk to the freight side, but also an opportunity,” Mr. Carson said. “The next six months are going to be incredibly important to us as we watch to see if inventory rebuilding begins — which I believe it will.”
Mr. Carson added that he believed the current credit squeeze affecting airlines would be short-lived and that a “more normal trend” in lending would emerge by the second half of 2010.
The global economic slowdown has hit the airline industry hard, with passenger traffic expected to fall by 8 percent this year. Just this month, the International Air Transport Association nearly doubled its forecast for 2009 industry losses to $9 billion from a prediction of $4.7 billion. The industry lost $10.4 billion in 2008.
“We believe we have the most coveted backlog in this industry — perhaps in the history of this industry,” Mr. Carson said.
Included in that backlog are about 860 jets of the company’s newest flagship model, the 787 Dreamliner, which is due to make its first flight this month. The first 787 delivery, to All Nippon Airways of Japan, is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. Mr. Carson said he did not foresee any financing trouble for the airlines lined up to buy the first of these jets.
The 787 backlog extends into 2020, he added, “so that’s a very long time with lots of opportunity for economic recovery.”