China Daily (Hong Kong)

Boeing bullish on China’s air travel biz

Nation’s demand for airplanes to hit 20% of global total in next 20 years, US aircraft maker says


US aircraft manufactur­er Boeing Co has again raised its forecast for the demand of aircraft in China, saying that over the next 20 years, Chinese carriers are expected to acquire 8,700 new airplanes valued at $1.47 trillion to meet sharply expanding commercial air travel demand.

In the next 20 years, China’s demand will account for 20 percent of the total new airplanes required globally, reflecting China market’s rebound and further evolution of its airline business model. China’s economic fundamenta­ls laid the foundation for the healthy air traffic increase. By 2040, China’s middleinco­me demographi­c is expected to double from the current level, Boeing said on Thursday in Beijing.

By 2030, China’s domestic passenger market will exceed intra-European traffic. By 2040, China’s domestic air traffic is expected to exceed that within North America, Boeing predicted.

“The rapid recovery of Chinese domestic air traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic speaks to the market’s underlying strength and resilience,” said Richard Wynne, managing director of China marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“In addition, there are promising opportunit­ies to significan­tly expand internatio­nal long-haul routes and airfreight capacity. In the longer term, there is potential for low-cost carrier growth to further build on single-aisle demand,” he said.

By 2040, China will have continued high demand for single-aisle airplanes and will need nearly 6,500 single-aisle aircraft. The deliveries of wide-body aircraft, including passenger and cargo models, will total 1,850 in the next two decades, accounting for 44 percent of demand by value, Boeing said.

Among the new deliveries, twothirds of the total aircraft will support China’s aviation industry growth and one-third of deliveries are expected for fleet replacemen­t, as more airlines have shown demand for more sustainabl­e and fuel-efficient airplane models.

COVID-19 has had a devastatin­gly negative impact on the global aviation industry, especially in internatio­nal long-haul markets, due to travel restrictio­ns imposed by different countries.

Still, Boeing is confident about future market outlook, and it said the domestic market of different countries will recover first, followed by regional and internatio­nal markets.

By 2023-24, the global air travel market is expected to resume at the level seen in 2019, Boeing forecast.

As of July, the volume of passenger traffic in the internatio­nal market has recovered to 26 percent of the level in 2019 when there was no pandemic, the domestic markets of different countries have seen their passenger traffic resume to 84 percent on average. Among the fleet that has resumed operations, 70 percent of the total are single-aisle aircraft, Boeing said.

China’s domestic air travel market is steadily picking up, with the pandemic brought under better control by and large across the country, sporadic outbreaks notwithsta­nding.

Boeing also forecast that by 2040, China’s civil aviation industry will require more than 400,000 new aviation personnel, including pilots, technician­s and cabin crew. Besides, China has shown a nearly $1.8 trillion commercial aviation services market opportunit­y in the next 20 years.

Across its businesses, training, supply chain and other activities, Boeing’s presence and partnershi­ps in China contribute more than $1.5 billion annually to the Chinese economy.

Meanwhile, for the low-cost airlines market, China’s budget carriers account for 15 percent market share of the total, lower than 32 percent in North America, 43 percent in Europe and 67 percent in Southeast Asia. Boeing said with a relatively low market share, China’s low-cost airlines market is expected to grow further in the future.

In addition, Boeing said China will need a significan­t number of freighters. Since the pandemic, global freight capacity dropped 11 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period, but total turnover has exceeded the level seen before the pandemic.

Currently, China stands as the largest and an important strategic market for Boeing and its European rival, Airbus.

“The China market has shown a huge demand for new aircraft. For aircraft manufactur­ers, it is important for them to grab the business growth opportunit­y in China,” said Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and a columnist at Carnoc, one of the largest civil aviation websites.

The first C919 narrow-body passenger jet, which is set to be delivered to China Eastern Airlines before year-end, will enter the final assembly stage soon, according to its manufactur­er Commercial Aircraft Corp of China.

C919 stands as China’s first selfdevelo­ped large passenger jet, and its competitor­s include aircraft models such as the single-aisle B737 of Boeing and the A320 of Airbus. The upcoming launch of the C919 is expected to provide more choices for global carriers.

 ?? LYU JIA / FOR CHINA DAILY ?? A Boeing aircraft docks at Chengdu Tianfu Internatio­nal Airport in Sichuan province in January.
LYU JIA / FOR CHINA DAILY A Boeing aircraft docks at Chengdu Tianfu Internatio­nal Airport in Sichuan province in January.

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