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Boeing sees China driving Asia aircraft demand

Boeing Co sealed two deals with Chinese airlines as the world's second-largest economy expects to order more than 2,000 aircraft over the next five years as demand for air services booms.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2011 13:20 IST

Boeing Co sealed two deals with Chinese airlines as the world's second-largest economy expects to order more than 2,000 aircraft over the next five years as demand for air services booms.

China expects to order 1,100 new transport aircraft and 1,000 general aviation aircraft in the next five years, Wang Changshun, vice minister of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at an Asian aerospace conference on Tuesday.

As air travel becomes more essential among China's increasingly wealthy population, Chinese airlines are keen to expand its fleet and bump up services to compete with regional players, such as Cathay Pacific .

"(The sector) will maintain a definite growth speed," Wang told reporters in Hong Kong on the sidelines of the conference.

Air China Ltd , the country's flagship carrier said it plans to purchase five Boeing 747-8 aircraft worth a list price of about $1.54 billion to expand its fleet.

In a separate deal, HNA Group, parent of Hainan Airlines Co Ltd , signed a deal with Boeing, the world's No. 2 commercial plane maker after EADS subsidiary Airbus, to purchase 38 aircraft, including six 777s, and 32 787s.

China's purchases of aircraft will help drive overall demand in Asia Pacific, where average annual air traffic growth is expected to grow by 6.8 percent over the next 20 years, higher than the global pace, Boeing said.

Asia Pacific's demand for aircraft will likely form a significant portion of the demand from global airlines, which Boeing said would need 30,900 new passenger freighter aircraft by 2030, valued at $3.6 trillion.

However over the coming year, the outlook of the industry will be clouded by uncertainties in the global economy, such as high oil prices and weakening defence spending, analysts and industry executives said.

"This year will be a bit slower than last year the reason being is that most of the near term production capacity that we have available have already been sold," Marlin Dailey, executive vice president, sales & marketing commercial airplanes of Boeing, told a news conference.

"And so airlines is going to slow down a bit before they make those decisions because they are talking about airplane availability in the 2014/15 time frame," he said.