Boeing forecasts strong growth in airplane sales

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac displayed at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on February 14, 2012. Boeing and Indonesian carrier Lion Air formally signed a $22.4 billion deal for 230 aircraft, the single largest contract in commercial aviation history.

(AP) Boeing (BA) is predicting that the world's airlines will buy 34,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years, driven by strong growth in China, India, and other emerging markets.

Boeing predicted that $4.5 trillion worth of planes will be sold. It will have to compete with Airbus and other competitors including Bombardier, Embraer, and China's state-owned COMAC.

Boeing says the most planes will be sold in the Asia Pacific region. The next biggest market is Europe. North America is third.

The Chicago company reduced its projection for the number of freighter airplanes that will be sold. It says the cargo market remains sluggish.

Boeing does a detailed annual study of airline sales trends. Airlines order planes years in advance, so Boeing has to make production decisions years in advance, too.