Boeing raises China plane forecast on travel boom

BEIJINGBoeing Co raised its 20-year forecast for aircraft demand in China as economic growth and an expanding middle class spur travel in the world’s most-populous nation.

China will need 7,240 new planes valued at almost US$1.1 trillion (RM4.66 trillion) in the two decades through 2036, Boeing said yesterday. That compares to its projections last September for 6,810 aircraft through 2035.

The upward revision for China comes despite rising trade tensions between the Asian nation and the US and a volatile geopolitical environment in the Korean peninsula. China is “a critical market,” where long-term economic growth, a recovering air-cargo market and the expansion of Chinese airlines support a more optimistic forecast this year, according to Randy Tinseth, VP of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

China has become the world’s biggest source of outbound travellers, prompting authorities to ramp up efforts to build new airports and expand existing ones, not only in top-tier cities like Beijing, but also regional economic centres such as Chengdu and Xi’an. China accounts for almost 11% of Boeing’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Narrowbody airplanes will make up 5,420, or three-quarters of the total plane deliveries to China during the period, as fullservice and discount carriers expand routes for both leisure and business travel, Boeing said. — Bloomberg