US aerospace giant Boeing has forecast that Chinese airlines will have to acquire 8 700 new aircraft between now and 2040. These purchases would have a total value of $1.47-trillion. This prediction formed part of the manufacturer’s latest Commercial Market Outlook (CMO).
The 2021 CMO reflected both the recovery of the Chinese air transport market from the Covid-19 pandemic and Boeing’s expectation for the country’s future economic growth. The group predicted that China would have an average annual economic growth rate of 4.4% over the next 20 years. One result would be that the country’s middle-income population segment would double in size.
“The rapid recovery of Chinese domestic traffic during the pandemic speaks to the market’s underlying strength and resilience,” observed Boeing Commercial Airplanes China marketing MD Richard Wynne. “In addition, there are promising opportunities to significantly expand international long-haul routes and air freight capacity. Longer term, there is the potential for low-cost carrier growth to further build on single-aisle demand.”
The manufacturer expected that Chinese airline passenger traffic would grow at an annual average rate of 5.4% between now and 2040. This figure was similar to the one predicted in Boeing’s 2020 CMO.
Of the new airliner deliveries during the latest CMO forecast period, 66% would be to meet the growing demand and 33% would be to replace existing aircraft (which were less fuel efficient than their replacements would be). In terms of numbers, nearly 6 500 of the new aeroplanes would be single-aisle airliners, with 1 850 being widebody airliners and freighters. However, the widebody types would account for 44% of the total value of the new acquisitions.
In addition, the commercial aircraft services sector in China could be worth almost $1.8-trillion over the forecast period. The country’s civil aviation sector would need more than 400 000 new aviation personnel. This figure would include technicians, cabin crew and pilots. Boeing highlighted that it was training Chinese aviation personnel and had 2 500 direct employees in the country. Its direct activities in China and its partnerships in the country contributed more than $1.5-billion a year to the Chinese economy.