Boeing expects China’s commercial jet market to double in size in two decades

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Boeing Co. released a bullish 20-year forecast for China’s commercial jet market, confident that the country can emerge from the challenges of COVID-19 and a slowing economy and be a major driver of sales.

The US manufacturing giant expects China to need 8,485 new passenger and freighter planes valued at $1.5 trillion through 2041. That figure is more than a fifth of global aircraft deliveries over the next two decades, Boeing said in a statement on Thursday.

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China’s commercial fleet will grow to more than 9,600 planes in that time from about 3,900, the company said.

“We have full confidence that China’s commercial aviation market will continue to prosper, despite recent economic headwinds,” said Peter Gao, Boeing’s Greater China vice president, commercial sales and marketing. “China’s economic fundamentals will continue to fuel the significant demand for both its passenger and cargo fleets.”

Still, the forecast is slightly lower than last year, when Boeing said Chinese airlines would need 8,700 new aircraft over the following 20 years, valued at $1.47 trillion. The company didn’t say why this year’s outlook was lower.

China has been a headache for Boeing in recent years, with orders stalling as a trade war flared between Beijing and Washington.

Boeing’s 737 Max also is not yet flying again in the country, despite returning to the skies in other major markets after fixes were made to the jet in the wake of deadly crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

Boeing said growth in China over the next two decades will come as the country’s carriers replace older aircraft with more fuel-efficient models, including the Max, as well as the 787 and 777X. It expects China’s passenger traffic to grow 4.9 percent a year, while its freighter fleet will more than quadruple to over 800 through 2041.

Read more: Boeing reports $3.3 billion loss in Q3 due to rising defense program costs

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