Boeing signalled another good year for the aircraft market in 2018 despite predicting a slowdown in passenger traffic, after unveiling a record number of deliveries in 2017 and continued buoyant orders.

Randy Tinseth, head of marketing, said demand for single-aisle aircraft continued to be “very, very strong”, with passenger traffic growing more rapidly than airline capacity for the eighth year in a row. Cancellations and deferrals of aircraft remained low, running at about one-third of the historic average, he said.

Nevertheless, passenger traffic was expected to slow from about 7 per cent to between 5.5 and 6 per cent, he said.

Boeing announced 763 deliveries and 912 orders net of cancellations, a tally that is expected to enable it to maintain its position as the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer — although rival Airbus may exceed it in orders when it reports next week. Airbus is expected to record between 700 and 720 deliveries and has logged orders before cancellations of about 1,000.

Boeing’s single-aisle 737 family continued to dominate both categories, with 529 of the narrowbodies delivered to customers and net orders of 745 recorded during the year.

However, Mr Tinseth said the group had also recorded a “very good year” for widebodies, with orders for all variants from the ageing 747 to the newer 787s. The cargo market was also showing an encouraging rebound from several years of decline. Although this rebound is seen as giving a new lease of life to the 747 – the world’s first jumbo jet — it was “ultimately good news for entire freighter product line,” he said.

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