Boeing estimates China 20-year demand for 8,560 aircraft

A Boeing 787 near the hangar
North Charleston from North Charleston, SC, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

US aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing is forecasting that China will need 8,560 new commercial airplanes through 2042,

This demand is driven by economic growth well above the global average and the increasing national demand for domestic air travel. 

China Skyrockets

According to Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), China is set to require a massive 8,560 new commercial airplanes by the year 2042.

This soaring demand is being propelled by China’s robust economic growth, which far surpasses the global average, and an ever-increasing appetite for domestic air travel.

Over the next two decades, China’s commercial airliner fleet is expected to more than double, reaching a figure of nearly 9,600 jets.

This exponential growth positions China to become a dominant force in the aviation industry, with the country accounting for an impressive one-fifth of the world’s airplane deliveries during this period.

A Boeing 777-9 in flight
Photo Credit: Boeing


The Driving Factors

Several factors are seen to be driving this monumental demand for commercial airplanes in China:

Economic Growth

China’s economic prowess has been the envy of the world, consistently outperforming global economic averages.

This remarkable growth translates into an increasing number of middle-class citizens with the means to travel, thereby fueling the demand for air travel.

Recovering Air Travel

Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, China’s domestic air traffic has not only rebounded but has surpassed pre-pandemic levels. International traffic is also steadily recovering. This resurgence in air travel is a testament to China’s resilience and determination.

Boeing’s Role

Boeing, with its extensive portfolio of commercial jets, is well-positioned to meet China’s burgeoning demand for air travel.

The company’s complete line-up of commercial jets will play a pivotal role in facilitating sustainable and economical growth within China’s aviation sector.

Photo Credit: Boeing

Projections through 2042

Boeing’s 2023 China CMO offers a comprehensive look into the future of China’s aviation industry:

Widebody Airplanes

In addition to the demand for single-aisle jets, Chinese carriers will require 1,550 widebody airplanes.

These aircraft will primarily support the ever-expanding network of international routes, connecting China to the rest of the world.

Fleet Growth

The majority of forecasted deliveries in China will be driven by fleet growth, with airlines expanding their operations.

This growth will be complemented by the retirement of older jets in favor of modern airplanes that enhance efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, aligning with global sustainability goals.

Freighters for E-commerce

The growth of e-commerce and express shipping is a global phenomenon, and China is no exception. This trend will lead to a demand for 190 new freighter deliveries, further boosting the aviation sector.

Workforce Expansion

To serve its burgeoning aviation market, China will require a substantial increase in aviation personnel. This includes 134,000 pilots, 138,000 technicians, and 161,000 cabin crew members.

This surge in employment opportunities underscores the sector’s vital role in China’s economy.

Aviation Services

China’s expanding commercial fleet will generate an impressive demand for aviation services, totaling a staggering $675 billion.

These services encompass maintenance, repair, training, and spare parts, creating a thriving ecosystem within the aviation industry.

50 Years in China

The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Boeing airplanes’ service in China. In 1972, China initiated its modernization of the commercial fleet by ordering 10 Boeing 707 jets.

The following year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) received its first 707 aircraft. Today, Boeing airplanes remain the backbone of China’s air travel and cargo system, a testament to the enduring partnership between Boeing and China.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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