Regional leader

China continues to lead the Asia Pacific region in new deliveries. Over the next 20 years, Chinese airlines will need nearly 6,000 new airplanes, valued at $780 billion, accounting for more than 40 percent of forecast deliveries to the Asia Pacific region.

Continued growth

With GDP forecast to rise 6.4 percent per year over the next 20 years, China’s share of the total world GDP is expected to grow from 8.5 percent today to 16 percent by 2032. As Chinese incomes converge toward those in the historical industrialized nations, an expanding middle class will expect to enjoy a comparable standard of living and consumption patterns.

Air traffic continues to be robust. In 2012, traffic to, from, and within China increased 10.6 percent, according to the CAAC. Domestic traffic accounted for 78 percent of the total, international for 20 percent, and the remaining 2 percent was to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Over the next 20 years, international travel will grow faster than domestic travel, increasing at an annual rate of 7.2 percent, compared to 6.8 percent for domestic travel.

China’s airports are rising in rank for total enplanements and deplanements, with Beijing at number 2 in the world, Hong Kong at 10, Guangzhou at 19, and Shanghai at 20. Hong Kong ranked as the number 1 cargo airport in terms of metric tonnes, with Shanghai at 3, Beijing at 14, and Guangzhou at 21.

Airplane demand

As in other parts of the world, single-aisle airplanes, such as the 737-800 and new 737 MAX 8, are the mainstay of the Chinese fleet and will continue to be over time. Today there are more than 1,650 single-aisle airplanes in service and a backlog of nearly 700 airplanes with airlines and lessors. Going forward, China will need 3,900 new airplanes, with single-aisle airplanes accounting for 70 percent of new deliveries.

With the fast growth in international travel, airlines in the region will need 1,440 new widebody airplanes. The number of new international long-haul markets has increased 135 percent over the past 10 years, with eight new markets opened in 2012 alone. Airlines continue to look for opportunities to expand their networks as international flying increases from secondary cities apart from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Long-haul service currently operates from Chengdu, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Chongqing, Sanya, Nanjing, and Shenyang, with the growth trend expected to continue.