Snapping up shares of Boeing (BA -0.33%) now could earn an investor a double-digit return before long. That's the belief of veteran Cowen aerospace analyst Cai von Rumohr, who on Tuesday upgraded his recommendation on the stock to "outperform" from the previous "market perform." The prognosticator also substantially lifted his Boeing price target -- it's now $290 per share, from $240.

The key reason is straightforward: A dramatic increase in consumer demand for air travel from people who have been locked in place too long.

Man walking through an airplane interior.

Image source: Getty Images.

"Now that U.S has hit a 50% vaccination rate, air traffic/indicators are accelerating," von Rumohr wrote in a new research note on the stock. "Europe & China are likely to reach [roughly] 50% in two and five months, respectively; and [the International Air Transport Association] now expects air traffic to top 2019's level by 2023."

Demand, of course, is only one part of the equation. No company can capitalize on consumer desires if it isn't adequately prepared to do so. von Rumohr argues that Boeing has positioned itself to take full advantage, writing that "aircraft demand is bolstered by (1) better economics of new planes, (2) low interest rates, and (3) lower carbon emissions."

The analyst points out that the widebody jets currently popular for long-haul flights tend to be older and less fuel efficient. They are therefore ripe for replacement by airlines wishing to reduce their carbon footprint, and -- perhaps more compellingly -- save on overall fuel costs.

Already tracking as a desirable stock in anticipation of when -- and if -- the world truly moves past the coronavirus pandemic, Boeing gained altitude on Tuesday by rising 3.1%. That compared very favorably to the marginal decline of the S&P 500 index.