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China to become Boeing's biggest market in next 20 years

Boeing 737 fuselages are delivered by train to a factory in Renton, Washington, in 2014. Photo: Reuters

China is expected to surpass the US and Europe to become Boeing's largest market in terms of aircraft deliveries and future orders for the next two decades, the Paper reported on Wednesday, citing an official from the US aircraft manufacturer.

Darren Hulst, Boeing's managing director for marketing in Northeast Asia, made the judgment based on the fact that the growth rate of China's aviation market is already 2-3 times higher than the global average, as the country's airline firms are stepping up efforts to expand fleets, according to the Paper report.

Along with the fleet expansion, China's passenger traffic has increased by an average of 10.4 percent a year for the past five years, showed the statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the country's top aviation regulator. The figure was compared with 4 percent in the US and 6 percent in Europe for the same period.

In the Current Market Outlook (CMO) Boeing published in June, the US aircraft producer estimated that 29,530 new airplanes will be needed in the single-aisle segment for the next 20 years, among which 5,000 aircraft will be purchased by the Chinese buyers. Boeing bets on the growth prospect of the single-aisle segment, which will be fueled by the low-cost airline companies and the rise of the emerging markets, according to the CMO.

Hulst said that China has one of the world's largest single-aisle fleet, with its wide-body fleet expected to triple in size over the next two decades, even though the short-haul market has partly been taken over by the fast-growing high-speed rail transport.

Boeing has revealed that it is in talks with several Chinese carriers and aviation-focused financial institutions to provide an aircraft model which takes into account the wide-body aircraft's excellent passenger comfort and the single-aisle aircraft's good fuel efficiency.

Besides, Boeing is also accelerating localization of manufacturing in China.

In May, Boeing, in partnership with the Chinese aviation manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), started the construction of a Boeing 737 completion and delivery center in the eastern Chinese city of Zhoushan. The center is Boeing's first overseas facility and is designed to deliver the Boeing 737 and 737 MAX aircraft to the Chinese buyers.

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