Boeing Raises China 20-Year Plane Demand Forecast 5.2%

Boeing Co. raised its 20-year China commercial-aircraft market forecast by 5.2 percent, at least the third straight increase, as economic growth and rising incomes spur air travel in the world’s most populous nation.

Carriers in China will need 5,260 new planes worth $670 billion through 2031, according to a forecast the Chicago-based planemaker released today in Beijing. The company last year predicted the country would need 5,000 new planes with a value of $600 billion through 2030.

Passenger numbers in China may rise 5 percent this year and the next, Boeing said. The planemaker yesterday also raised its India market forecast as Asian carriers expand their fleet to meet rising leisure and business travel demand. Airbus SAS has said emerging markets will represent more than half of all traffic growth in the next two decades.

“China is one of those markets where we’ve consistently underestimated the growth,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president for marketing, said. “Sustained strong economic growth, growing trade activities and increasing personal wealth are some of the driving forces.”

Boeing has won orders for 40 737s from Xiamen Airlines Co., 10 777s from Xiamen Air’s parent China Southern Airlines Co. and 20 777s from China Eastern Airlines Corp. this year. Xiamen Air is also in talks about ordering 30 737 MAX planes, an official at the airline said last month.

Comac’s C919

Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China is also working on a new narrow-body aircraft, the C919, which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2014. Comac won an order for 45 C919 planes from the leasing arm of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. in June, boosting its backlog to 280 planes from 12 buyers, the Shanghai-based company said in June.

China will become the largest market by value of plane deliveries in next two decades, Airbus said yesterday. About 69 percent of respondents surveyed in the country by the company said they would fly more in the future, the Toulouse, France-based planemaker said in a statement.

“We expect Chinese carriers to experience rapid international expansion over the next 20 years,” Tinseth said. “Chinese carriers now have the capability and resources to compete in the tough long-haul international market.”

Carriers in India will need 1,450 new aircraft worth $175 billion through 2031, according to Boeing.

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