Despite near-term challenges, Boeing Co. is forecasting a robust 20-year growth track for the Chinese commercial aviation sector, with demand for new aircraft and services totaling $3.1 trillion through 2039. While global commercial-aerospace demand has been gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the changes it has forced on personal and business travel, this does not alter the long-term potential for expansion in the Chinese economy, according to Boeing.
A rapidly growing Chinese middle class, accelerating economic growth, and growing urbanization all factor into the Boeing forecast. Passenger volume growth in China is forecast to increase at a 5.5% annual rate.
Specifically, Boeing sees demand for 8,600 new aircraft in China through 2039, which represent a value $1.4 trillion, with commercial aviation services valued at $1.7 trillion during that time. This represents a 7% increase over last year’s 20-year forecast for the Chinese market.
The forecast recognizes continued high demand for single-aisle aircraft, but also growing demand for wide-body passenger jets to serve international routes. Chinese carriers continue to replace existing aircraft as the current fleet ages.
Single-aisle aircraft (e.g., the Boeing 737 series) demand will total 6,450 new jets during the forecast period. Wide-body aircraft demand will total 1,590 new jets, or 18.0% of total demand, a -4% decrease from the previous year’s forecast.
Further, Boeing noted there will be growing demand in China for new and converted freighter aircraft, as well as “digital solutions” supporting Chinese carriers. Boeing noted that the Chinese market has “significant room for development of air express shipping, presenting an opportunity for robust freighter demand.”
“While COVID-19 has severely impacted every passenger market worldwide, China’s fundamental growth drivers remain resilient and robust,” stated Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Richard Wynne, managing director, China Marketing. “Not only has China’s recovery from COVID-19 outpaced the rest of the world, but also continued government investments toward improving and expanding its transportation infrastructure, large regional traffic flows, and a flourishing domestic market mean this region of the world will thrive.”