Seattle - Boeing said growth in industry deliveries will slow in the next 20 years as demand wanes for jumbo jets and freighters, with the global fleet expanding at less than a fifth of the rate predicted in 2011.
Airlines will take 34,000 new planes valued at $4.5 trillion through 2031, Chicago-based Boeing said Tuesday. That's a 1.5 percent increase from a 33,500-jet estimate last year, when the planemaker raised its two-decade forecast by 8.4 percent.
Boeing gives its 20-year prediction annually, offering a glimpse of how it sees the market for new aircraft and airlines' passenger and cargo traffic. While sales of twin-aisle jets will increase, orders will slow for the largest such planes, Boeing's 747 and Airbus SAS's A380 superjumbo, Boeing said.
Fuel bills for four-engine planes such as the 747 and double-decker A380 have been pushing airlines toward longer- range twin-engine models that burn less kerosene. Orders last year for Boeing's 777 reached a record 202, while the new 747-8 had only seven sales, according to Boeing's website.
There also will be fewer sales of narrow-body planes, Boeing said. That category, which includes Boeing's 737, makes up the bulk of the global fleet.
Passenger traffic will rise about 5 percent a year in the next two decades, Boeing said, while cargo traffic will increase 5.2 percent annually, down from a previous forecast of 5.6 percent.
Boeing and Toulouse, France-based Airbus are both pushing output to record levels to trim backlogs of more than 8,000 jetliners, representing more than seven years of work at current rates. The forecast accounts for new models entering service from planemakers in China, Canada and Russia.
"The world's aviation market is broader, deeper and more diverse than we've ever seen it," said Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice president of marketing. "It has proven to be resilient even during some very challenging years and is driving production-rate increases across the board."
Demand is strongest in Asia, where Boeing predicted buyers will get 12,030 new planes by 2031, a 5.1 percent jump from the 2011 forecast. Boeing now sees fewer purchases in North America, Latin America and the Middle East than a year earlier. It cut the North America forecast by 3.2 percent to 7,290 planes.
The company also pared its projection for freighter planes, citing a "sluggish" cargo market. Until last week's order by FedEx Corp., Boeing had sold no cargo jets this year.
Boeing has issued annual 20-year forecasts since 1964. In 2009, the company reduced its outlook for the first time in at least a decade as carriers canceled and deferred orders because of a travel slump in the recession. The following year's report bumped the projection up by 6.6 percent.