Boeing sees big expansion in long-haul air market
Boeing Co said on Tuesday that China is now the most dynamic market for international flights, and it is very positive about the outlook for the growth of China’s long-haul market, due to strong domestic and overseas travel demand, and a rising middle class.
The plane manufacturer lifted its forecast for China, and said the nation is likely to become the first country with an aviation market exceeding $1 trillion in the next two decades. Chinese airlines are estimated to purchase 6,810 airplanes valued at $1.025 trillion in the next 20 years.
Among the new deliveries, Boeing predicts that China will need 5,110 new single-aisle airplanes through 2035, accounting for 75 percent of the total, and China’s widebody fleet is to triple in size over the next two decades.
“As China transitions to a more consumer-based economy, aviation will play a key role in its economic development,” said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“Because travel and transportation are key services, we expect to see passenger traffic grow 6.4 percent annually in China over the next 20 years.”
Meanwhile, low-cost carriers and full-service airlines have been adding airplanes and expanding new point-to-point services between smaller cities to cater for both leisure and business travel demand from a rising middle class in China and throughout Asia.
In the last five years, the number of direct international flights to and from China saw a surge of 150 percent. Direct flights between second-tier Chinese cities and overseas cities have been the main driving force of the growth.
Tinseth said the continuing expansion of China’s middle class, coupled with new relaxed visa policies and a wide range of wide body airplanes with new technologies, capabilities and efficiencies, gives Boeing sufficient reason to expect a very bright future for China’s long-haul market.
Li Xiaojin, a professor at the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin, said China is expected to have a surge on international travel volume. By 2020, China is likely to witness 200 million international trips annually.
“The trend of airlines to add more international flights between first-tier Chinese cities and second-tier foreign cities, and vice-versa, is likely to continue to grow rapidly, since the direct flights between first-tier cities are nearly saturated, and demand is keeps growing.”
On the other hand, driven by China’s growing e-commerce business — already the largest in the world — air cargo is expected to become a key driver for the continuous growth of aviation in China, with the need for 180 new freighters and 410 converted freighters.
A Boeing employee uses a lift to get a view of a 787.