China will buy 6,810 planes in next two decades to meet demand

China will have to buy US$1 trillion worth of planes to meet demand. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

AS China transitions into a more consumer-based economy, aviation is set to play a key role in its economic development.

Over the next twenty years, China will invest in 6,810 new aircrafts worth more than US$1 trillion, according to Boeing’s latest Current Market Outlook (CMO) for the nation.

This would make China the first trillion-dollar aviation market in Boeing’s global forecasts.

Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of marketing, said in a statement that he expects passenger traffic to grow 6.4 percent in China annually over the next 20 years.

“The continuing expansion of China’s middle class, coupled with new visa policies and a wide range of widebody airplanes… gives us every reason to expect a very bright future for China’s long-haul market.”

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In September last year, Boeing said it will open a facility in China with Commercial Aircraft of China to paint, complete interiors of, and deliver the single-aisle 737 aircraft to Chinese companies.

Growing travel demand is also the reason foreign pilots are also being lured into the country with lucrative pay packages.

To meet demand, China is required to hire a minimum of 100 pilots in the next 20 years, and airlines are turning to overseas headhunters to recruit foreign talent.

Some carriers are offering as much as US$318,000 a year, a significant hike from the US$209,000 a US airline like Delta would typically pay.

On top of the ritzy pay packages, pilots can request for bonuses, overtime pay, and contract-completion payouts. Some recruiters are also given free rein to fill in captains’ chairs.

Air traffic in China is the world’s busiest, and looks set to quadruple in the next two decades. According to a report by the Civil Aviation Industry Statistics, the Chinese fleet has tripled to 2,650 in the last decade.