Boeing values China’s aircraft business at almost $3 trillion over the next two decades



David Reid | CNBC

  • China is widely tipped to become the world’s largest aviation market.
  • Boeing has upped its market forecast for the country to suggest almost 8,100 new planes are needed by 2038.
  • Boeing’s drive to work with Chinese companies has been slowed by the grounding of the 737 Max.

Boeing has claimed that growing Chinese demand for planes will generate almost $3 trillion worth of industry business over the next two decades.

In its latest market outlook, the U.S. plane maker predicts China will soon become the world’s largest aviation market and will need 8,090 new planes by 2038. Boeing believes within a decade that one-in-five airline passengers will be Chinese.

The figure would equate to $1.3 trillion in current list prices. Boeing said associated services to maintain fleets would be even larger at $1.6 trillion, meaning almost $3 trillion worth of business could be up for grabs.

Boeing has said passenger traffic within China is tipped to grow at more than 6% a year until 2038 and China’s middle class is expected to double in size within a decade.

While domestic flights are predicted to provide the lion’s share of growth, outward bound international travel will also increase.

“An expanding middle class, significant investment in infrastructure, and advanced technologies that make airplanes more capable and efficient, continue to drive tremendous demand for air travel,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of commercial marketing for Boeing said in a statement Tuesday.

China’s need for new and replacement planes between now and 2038 are broken down by Boeing’s analysts into 5,960 single-aisle jets, 1,780 widebody planes, 230 freighters, and 120 regional jets.

On a global basis, Boeing is projecting $6.8 trillion worth of airplane sales by 2038 with a further $9.1 trillion in services.

More than 2000 Boeing planes have already been delivered to China with around a quarter of the plane makers production line now delivered to Chinese customers. Boeing has said one third of its 737 planes are currently delivered to China.

The 737 Completion & Delivery Center in Zhoushan is a joint venture between Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC). It was built to provide interior furnishings and exterior paint to planes that have arrived from Seattle.

In December last year, Air China received a 737 Max 8 which was the first Boeing plane to be completed in China for a local customer.

But on March 11, China ordered its airlines to suspend operations of their 737 MAX 8 planes following two fatal crashes of the model within 5 months. In a sign of China’s growing importance as an aviation regulator, most other agencies and airlines followed suit over the next two days.

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