BEIJING (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) on Tuesday raised its forecast for China’s aircraft demand over the next 20 years, saying it was optimistic about the long-term outlook for the world’s second largest aviation market despite a slowing economy and weak stock market.
The U.S. plane maker expects China will need 6,330 aircraft over the next 20 years, a 5 percent rise from last year’s two-decade estimate.. It valued the aircraft demand at $950 billion.
“Despite the current volatility in China’s financial market, we see strong growth in the country’s aviation sector over the long term,” Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters in Beijing.
Boeing estimates that China’s commercial airplane fleet will nearly triple over the next 20 years, from 2,570 aircraft in 2014 to 7,210 aircraft in 2034.
By that time, Tinseth said, China will be the world’s largest domestic air travel market. “We’ve really seen no slowing in the trajectory of traffic here in China,” he added.
Both Boeing and rival Airbus Group SE (AIR.PA) are relying on China to fuel growth in their order books.
Airbus, which claims a 50 percent market share with more than 1,180 aircraft in operation with Chinese airlines, in July announced plans to set up a completion and delivery center for its A330 jets in Tianjin, a crucial build out of its assembly facility now in operation.
Boeing estimated China will buy a total of 4,630 single-aisle airplanes during the 20-year period, driven in part by the growth of new carriers and low-cost airlines.
Additional demand for 1,510 widebody airplanes, including 50 large wide-body aircraft, will come as larger numbers of Chinese middle-class tourists travel overseas on long-haul flights, Boeing said.
Separately, Tinseth said that Boeing is “working very hard” to lobby the U.S. government on the future of EXIM, the U.S. government’s export credit agency, whose government charter lapsed on June 30.
Reporting By Fang Yan and Matthew Miller; Editing by Miral Fahmy