Boeing sees China aircraft fleet tripling in two decades

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BEIJING: US aviation giant Boeing said on Thursday that it expects China’s commercial aircraft fleet to triple in size over the next two decades, as the country’s strong economic growth boosts air traffic.

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China will need 5,580 new airplanes worth $780 billion by 2032, 16 percent of the world total, the Seattle-based company said at a briefing in Beijing.

The figures mark an increase from the company’s forecast last year, when it said that China would add 5,260 new airplanes to its fleet by 2031.

“Thanks to strong economic growth and increased access to air travel, we project China traffic to grow at nearly 7 percent each year,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing’s commercial airplane division.

The company expects worldwide traffic growth to average 5 percent a year over the period.

China’s air travel is booming. A total of 319 million air passenger trips were recorded in the country in 2012, up 8.9 percent from the previous year, official figures show.

The Boeing statement projected that China will have a total of 6,450 commercial aircraft by 2032, up from 2,100 last year.

Tourism within China and intra-Asia travel will help spur strong demand for single-aisle airplanes, with total deliveries in that segment reaching 3,900 through 2032, it said.

Long-haul international traffic to and from China is predicted to grow 7.2 percent annually, leading to a demand for an additional 1,440 new fuel-efficient widebodies, it added.

“To compete in the long-haul international market, our Chinese customers are focused on growing their international networks, increasing their capacity and building resources,” said Tinseth.

“These trends will shape market demand for airplanes that have high efficiency, low operating costs, environmentally progressive technologies and a great passenger experience,” he added.

AFP

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