Mainland China's passenger aircraft fleet will triple in the coming 20 years

Airbus predicts that the Chinese Mainland will need approximately 2,800 new passenger aircraft over the 20-year period covered by the company's latest Global Market Forecast - including 190 very large aircraft, such as the A380.

17 June 2008 Feature story

Airbus forecasts that the Chinese Mainland will need some 2,800 new passenger aircraft and freighters from 2007 to 2026, with a total market value of US$ 329 billion. It represents 11.6 per cent of the world total demand for over 24,000 new aircraft in the next 20 years.



According to Airbus' 2007-2008 Global Market Forecast (China) issued today, mainland China will need some 2,800 new passenger and freighter aircraft over the next 20 years, including more than 1,900 single aisle aircraft, nearly 700 twin-aisles and 190 very large aircraft (VLA). The number of VLAs, such as A380, needed on the Chinese mainland is forecast to be on rise as international traffic from and to China is to greatly increase and to be highly concentrated.



The passenger traffic is expected to grow five-fold and the passenger aircraft fleet will triple on the Chinese mainland. A total of 2,670 new passenger aircraft are needed in the next 20 years on the Chinese mainland.



Freighter traffic in China is expected to grow six-fold and will need some 130 new freighter aircraft over the next 20 years. China's freighter traffic demand will remain at a high level with an average domestic market growth rate of 10.5 per cent per year and an average international market growth rate of 8.5 per cent per year. China's dedicated freighter fleet will grow eleven-fold over the next 20 years, from 45 freighters to 471 in 2026.



"In terms of in-service aircraft, Airbus' share of the in-service fleet on the Chinese mainland has already increased from 7 per cent in 1995 to the current 38 per cent. Our aim is to reach 50 per cent in 2012," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers. "In the next 20 years, the greatest demand for passenger aircraft will come from China, second only to the United States," he added.



Drivers of China's dynamic air transport growth include the country's long-term economic and trade growth, fast growth in real consumer spending of the Chinese people and the large Chinese outbound tourist wave. All these drivers plus the more concentrated population in mega cities such as Beijing and Shanghai will translate into a substantial demand for VLAs such as A380. According to IATA statistics, international traffic to China in 2007 is highly concentrated as 87 per cent of Europe-China passengers and 85 per cent of USA-China passengers want to go to Beijing or Shanghai. The intra Asia demand is also concentrated between such big cities as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, and Singapore. There will be 80 very large aircraft daily flights to Beijing by 2020. A380, which can carry more passengers with less flights, less fuel consumption, less noise, and less CO2 emission, will bring advantages to Chinese airlines.



"Airbus will contribute to the long-term sustainable development of China's air transportation by providing Chinese airlines with modern and eco-efficient aircraft and excellent support and service," Mr Leahy said. "But we are not just supplying aircraft to Chinese airlines. We are building long-term relationships with Chinese aviation industry."



In 2007, the total value of sub-contracting in China has exceeded the company's US$ 60 million target to reach US$ 70 million. Six Chinese enterprises are already involved in manufacturing parts for Airbus aircraft. The Airbus A320 Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, a joint venture between Airbus and the Chinese consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone, AVIC I and AVIC II, will start assemble the first aircraft in August this year and deliver the first plane in mid 2009.



Read the feature stories on Airbus' Global Market Forecast for the following countries/regions:



  • Global Market Forecast for North America
  • Global Market Forecast for Russia
  • Global Market Forecast for the Nordic countries
  • Global Market Forecast for Spain
  • Global Market Forecast for Mexico
  • Global Market Forecast for Brazil
  • Global Market Forecast for Argentina
  • Global Market Forecast for Central Europe
  • Global Market Forecast for Germany


  • See the special Airbus website section with the
    complete 2007-2026 Global Market Forecast