U.S. aerospace giant Boeing Co estimates northeast Asia will need about 1,200 airplanes worth about $190 billion over the next 20 years, a senior company executive said on Thursday.

Northeast Asia plays a big role for Boeing with Japan its biggest single-country international market for its commercial airplanes.

A drop in global passenger demand has Boeing and rival Airbus headed for their worst annual order tally in at least 15 years as struggling airlines cancel or defer almost as many planes as they are buying.

But Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said there were signs of improvement.

We are seeing a stability in the world economy, Tinseth told reporters in Tokyo.

The year 2010 would be the year of economic recovery, and 2011 would be the year of recovery in airlines and 2012 would be the year when we see an increase in demand for airplanes, he said.

Tinseth reaffirmed that Boeing plans to deliver the first of its repeatedly delayed 787 Dreamliners to launch customer All Nippon Airways <9202.T> in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Japanese airlines have ordered nearly 850 Boeing airplanes in total, and about 80 percent of airplanes ordered by Japanese carriers in the past decade are Boeing-made.

But Japan's aviation market has entered a bumpy period in the past year, with Japan Airlines Corp <9205.T> hit by the global economic downturn and volatile fuel prices


Expecting Japan's economic growth to average 0.8 percent a year in the next 20 years, Tinseth said Japanese carriers would need about 60 to 65 percent of the 1,200 airplanes that Boeing estimates would be needed for northeast Asia, which also includes South Korea.

Of those 1,200 planes, about 47 percent would be wide-body, twin-aisle airplanes, he said. Single-aisle jets will also likely be used more due to their popularity with budget carriers and airlines flying shorter distances, he said.

We estimate two-thirds of such (expected) deliveries (for northeast Asia) would be for growth, Tinseth said, adding that one-third would be for replacements of old airplanes.

Tokyo's Haneda airport, which handles mainly domestic flights, is scheduled to open a fourth runway next year. The expansion is expected to increase annual capacity by 40 percent by 2010 and allow airlines to launch new routes.

Already, Virgin Atlantic Airways of Britain and Cathay Pacific Airways <0293.HK> have expressed interest in launching new services to Haneda, which is closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita airport.

Globally, airlines will need 29,000 new airlines through 2028, worth around $3.2 trillion, Boeing estimated earlier this year.

(Editing by Lincoln Feast)