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China Southern Airlines Boeing 737 MAX jet.

Chinese Domestic Aircraft Demand Forecast to Double

Sept. 21, 2023
Analysts expect Boeing will be approved to resume 737 MAX deliveries as Chinese airlines expand to meet growing demand for domestic air service.

Boeing issued a 20-year forecast for China’s domestic air-travel market, projecting a need for 8,560 new commercial aircraft through 2042. Factors driving the demand include Chinese economic growth above the global average and rising demand for domestic travel there, which will require the domestic airlines to more than double the size of the fleet serving the market, to almost 9,600 total jets.

According to Boeing, China will account for one-fifth of the world's airplane deliveries from 2023 to 2042, and China's domestic aviation market will be the world’s largest by that end date.

Boeing did not offer any update on its own activities in China, which have been difficult over recent years, but the growing domestic demand is likely to be beneficial to the aircraft builder. The

China has yet to approve Boeing to resume deliveries of the 737 MAX aircraft, suspended in 2019 during the worldwide grounding of that narrow-body series. Chinese carriers operating the 737 MAX were cleared to resume those services during 2022, more than a year after other nations had recertified the aircraft for service.

Boeing reportedly has 120 737 MAX aircraft completed and ready for delivery to Chinese customers.

Market analysts expect the approval to resume deliveries will come soon because of the accelerating demand for carrier capacity. Boeing’s market forecast projects a total need for 6,470 new narrow-body jets during the 20-year forecast period.

The OEM’s market outlook also foresees Chinese carriers requiring 1,550 more wide-body jets, such as the 777 and 787 Dreamliner series, to service their international routes.

Fleet expansion will be the reason for about two thirds of forecast deliveries in China, with the other one third addressing aircraft replacement needs.

The Chinese market also will require 190 new freighter aircraft over the coming two decades, as e-commerce and express shipping requirements increase in that market.

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