China’s post-pandemic air travel to see 8,600 plane purchases in next 20 years - Boeing

China’s expected recovery in air travel after the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to result in 8,600 new airplane purchases over the next 20 years, according to US manufacturer Boeing.

In its 2020 Commercial Market Outlook, Boeing said that, to meet rebounding demand and to replace its maturing fleet, China was likely to be in the market to purchase around 6,450 single-aisle planes - including the likes of Boeing’s 737 - with around 1,590 purchases of bigger, wide-bodied planes.

Amounting to some $1.4 trillion, the purchases would be accompanied by $1.7 trillion worth of commercial aviation services, Boeing said, pointing to a robust post-pandemic recovery being supported by China’s booming middle classes and increased economic growth. Boeing said China would take a leading role in growing passenger travel globally.

“China’s commercial jet fleet has expanded sevenfold since 2000 and around 25% of all aviation growth in the [past] decade has come from China,” Boeing said.

However, an anticipated slow recovery in global long-haul traffic saw Boeing cut its projection for wide-bodied planes by 4 percentage points to 18% over the next 20 years.

Boeing expects China’s annual passenger traffic growth to be about 5.5% over the period.

Various advanced composites and metals are used in the construction of Boeing’s airplanes, including titanium for load-bearing areas, aluminium for engine cowlings and wing tips, and carbon laminates and sandwich structures for the fuselage.

Around half the material used in modern aircraft construction is carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, while the main metals used are aluminium alloys (20%) and titanium (15%), although steel (10%) also continues to feature because of its strength and corrosion resistance.

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