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Boeing Predicts China Will Need 2,600 New Planes Worth $213 Billion

Over the next 20 years China will need more than 2,600 new planes, valued at $213 billion, quadrupling its fleet to become the world's second largest aviation market, Boeing said Tuesday. In its 2005 market outlook Boeing predicted air travel in China will grow by 8.8% annually for domestic flights and 7.3% with international flights included -- outpacing the global average of 4.8%.

The company said growth in the China market will be driven by its rapid economic growth, massive construction of airports and people's increasing ability to afford flights. China's market will demand increased frequencies of flights and more direct flights between cities, and as a result it will need smaller jets rather than bigger aircraft, Boeing said, contrary to predictions by its European competitor Airbus of a shift to much bigger planes.

The world's fastest growing major aviation market still has great potential, Boeing officials noted, pointing out that many Chinese have never flown or were flying for the first time. Also, China has many more cities and metropolitan areas with a population of five million people or more, compared to North America or Europe.

China will also become a bigger sourcing and labor market for Boeing, officials said, adding it will build and maintain more planes here. Currently, nearly one third of the Boeing planes flying in the world include major parts and assemblies built in China. The company procured $500 million worth of parts from China through the end of 2004 and expects purchases to go up to $1.3 billion by 2010.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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