China to buy 3,400 new airplanes by 2026: Boeing

BEIJING, Sept 18, 2007 (AFP) – China, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, will need 3,400 new airplanes worth about 340 billion dollars over the next 20 years, US aircraft maker Boeing said Tuesday. The forecast marks a dramatic increase from an earlier prediction by Boeing of 2,900 aircraft in the period from 2005 to 2025.

Strong growth in both passenger and cargo transport will nearly quadruple China’s fleet to 4,460 planes by the end of 2026, making it the largest market outside the United States for new commercial aircraft, it said.

Following the anticipated surge in passenger traffic for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China’s domestic market will grow nearly five-fold by 2026 to become slightly larger than today’s intra-North American market, it added.

Air travel growth between China and North America as well as between China and Europe will more than double in size during the next 20 years, and the number of cities linked by air routes will more than triple, the company said in a statement.

Worldwide, Boeing projects investments of 2.8 trillion dollars for 28,600 new commercial airplanes to be delivered during the next 20 years. The US aviation giant currently enjoys about