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Aircraft demand set to surge in China

Boeing has forecast more than 6,300 new aircraft will enter China’s commercial aviation fleet over the next 20 years, a rise of a nearly more than 300 since 2014’s forecast and coming in spite of China’s faltering economy.

In its China Current Market Outlook report published on Tuesday (August 25), the OEM estimated the value of the incoming aircraft will amount to $950bn, with the majority of aircraft delivered into the country – 4,630 to be precise – expected to be narrowbody ones.

Narrowbody demand is expected to be driven by the country’s burgeoning low-cost carrier (LCC) market, which has seen more than 20 new start-up airlines begin operating in this segment in the last two years, while the expansion of Chinese carriers internationally will account for the predicted 1,510 widebodies expected to enter China's fleet.

A particularly impressive statistic worth highlighting is, given the predicted rate of China’s LCC market expansion, the eight per cent of narrowbody aircraft demand it currently accounts for is expected to rise to between 25 and 30 per cent in 2034.

Unmoved by concerns over the long-term strength of China’s economy which were further highlighted by the country’s stock market plunge this week, Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “Despite the current volatility in China’s financial market, we see strong growth in the country’s aviation sector over the long-term.”

“Enabled by China’s growing middle-class population, new visa policies and the underlying strength of its economic growth, this expansion is expected to continue, and in fact accelerate,” Tinseth added.

The announcement could also pique the interest of MROs, with the influx of new aircraft certain to create new opportunities for firms.

Valued at $3.6bn by consultancy CAVOK last year while predicted to double in size to $7.8bn by 2023, this could grow further as a result of the great aircraft influx.

Given the current trend of OEMs and MROs setting up joint ventures in the country, western firms could find themselves well placed to capitalise on the industry’s long-term growth.

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