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Boeing: China's air fleet will triple

(China Daily)

10:01, September 08, 2011

Navigators work on the parking apron in Qingdao, Shandong province. The US aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co estimates China will need 5,000 new commercial aircraft over the next 20 years. (China Daily Photo)

BEIJING - China will need 5,000 new commercial airplanes valued at $600 billion over the next 20 years, with demand being driven by the country's sustained economic growth and increasing personal wealth, according to forecasts from the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co.

Although high-speed railways and rising fuel costs could adversely affect the air industry, the national aircraft fleet will more than triple in size by 2030, according to Boeing in its outlook for China's commercial airplane market through 2030 released on Wednesday.

About 84 percent of China's new aircraft will be necessary to keep in step with the industry's growth, which will also bring demand for about 70,000 pilots during the period, said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

He said sustained strong economic growth, growing trade activity, increasing personal income, as well as continued market liberalization will be the driving forces in shaping China's air travel market.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), passenger travel in 2010 increased by 16.1 percent compared with 2009 and the average annual growth was 14.1 percent during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010).

However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that growth in China, the world's second-biggest domestic market, slowed abruptly to just 5.1 percent in July.

IATA said this was an acceleration in a trend of declining domestic traffic growth, which began in the second half of 2010.

"We are still optimistic about China's long-term market, although it has fluctuations sometimes," Tinseth said.

Boeing forecasts that China's annual GDP increase will stay at 7 percent in the next 20 years, which will drive growth for air travel at an average of 7.6 percent annually.

Tinseth said Boeing's forecast evaluated all the factors affecting aviation, such as high-speed railways.

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