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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Boeing eyeing creation of new mid-sized aircraft on back of strong Middle East demand 

The largest aerospace company is bullish on the region and sees traffic growing at 7 per cent

Boeing is bullish on the Middle East and is eyeing the introduction of a mid-sized aircraft. Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon
Boeing is bullish on the Middle East and is eyeing the introduction of a mid-sized aircraft. Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon

Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, sees strong interest in the Middle East for a mid-sized jet and is progressing with plans to develop the new model.

"Customers see growth in the middle market, and we think [what we're planning] is a terrific aircraft and we like how it's shaping up," Kevin McAllister, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial, told media on Saturday evening ahead of the Dubai Air Show.

There is no timeframe for the new aircraft's production as of yet, he said. Earlier reports have suggested the aircraft would have around 220-270 seats and a smaller cargo hold to add passenger capacity.

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Stan Deal, executive vice-president of the Boeing Group, said he was optimistic about aviation demand and Boeing's business in the Middle East despite regional geopolitical tensions. The manufacturer has a strong order base and has not had to delay deliveries.

"We certainly plan to extend our order base here at Dubai Air Show," Deal said. "We are shifting our competitive edge and are now focused on growth, with new offerings.

Boeing is upbeat about the demand outlook following traction in important markets like China and Singapore, McAllister added.

"Traffic is growing at an average 8 per cent - very strong globally - and in the Middle East it's 7 per cent which is also good," he said.

Spokespeople declined to provide an update on the US legal case facing Boeing from passengers who had been on the Emirates flight that crash landed in Dubai last year.

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