Boeing Co. (IW 500/9) lifted its forecast for aircraft demand in China in the next two decades, saying a rising middle class would spur leisure and business travel.

The planemaker projects demand in China for 6,810 aircraft valued at $1.025 trillion, making the nation the first trillion-dollar aviation market in its forecast, Boeing said in a statement distributed in Beijing Tuesday. The aircraft maker last year predicted China would need 6,330 new planes worth $950 billion in the next two decades.

“As China transitions to a more consumer-based economy, aviation will play a key role in its economic development,” Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in the statement. “We expect to see passenger traffic grow 6.4% annually in China over the next 20 years.”

Boeing predicted China will need 5,110 new single-aisle airplanes through 2035, or 75% of total new deliveries. The widebody fleet will triple in size, requiring 1,560 new airplanes, the company said.

The planemaker also said it predicts 39,620 new airplanes valued at $5.9 trillion to be delivered worldwide in the next 20 years.

By Bloomberg News