Boeing says China will need 3,400 new planes by 2026

China will need 3,400 new planes worth about $340 billion over the next 20 years, US aircraft maker Boeing said on Tuesday, 18 September. The new forecast represents a dramatic increase. Earlier, Boeing had predicted the world's fastest-growing aviation market would need 2,900 aircraft from 2005 to 2025.

Strong growth in both passenger and cargo transport will nearly quadruple China's fleet to 4,460 planes by the end of 2026, making it the largest market outside the United States for new commercial aircraft, Boeing said.

Air travel growth between China and North America as well as between China and Europe will more than double in size during the next 20 years, and the number of cities linked by air routes will more than triple, the company said in a statement.

It said that following the anticipated surge in passenger traffic for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China's domestic market will grow nearly five-fold by 2026, making it larger than today's intra-North American market.

Worldwide, Boeing projects investments of $2.8 trillion for 28,600 new commercial airplanes to be delivered during the next 20 years. The US aviation giant currently has about 60 per cent of China's market, but it is in for close competition. Europe's Airbus is setting up an assembly plant for A320 aircraft in the northern city of Tianjin to tap China's fast-growing aircraft market.

China's civil aviation regulator said earlier this week it planned to add 27 international routes to Europe and America over the next two years. Under the plan, 206 additional flights will be added to existing routes connecting China with Europe and the US, the General Administration of Civil Aviation (GAAC) said.