Boeing anticipates that it will take several years to return to normal delivery volumes in the Chinese market. During a media briefing on China's civil aviation market outlook held on September 20, Boeing's Vice President of Civil Aviation Market Marketing, Huo Daren, conveyed this sentiment.
Huo Daren noted that historically, about 20% of all Boeing aircraft deliveries went to Chinese customers. The recovery of future delivery levels will depend on the volume of aircraft orders and close communication with airline customers. However, he also highlighted the rapid recovery of China's civil aviation market and the strong demand for new aircraft, which gives Boeing confidence.
China to Need 8,560 New Aircraft Over Next 20 Years
According to Boeing's civil aviation market outlook data, the global aviation industry will require 42,600 new aircraft over the next 20 years (2023-2042). Of these, China will need 8,560 new aircraft, accounting for a fifth of global deliveries.
In terms of aircraft type distribution, single-aisle aircraft will continue to dominate, with an expected 6,470 deliveries over the next 20 years, making up about 75% of the total. Wide-body aircraft deliveries will number around 1,550, representing roughly 18%. Overall, by 2042, China's civil aviation fleet size is expected to more than double, reaching nearly 9,600 aircraft.
Boeing stated that to serve this growing market, China will need an additional 433,000 aviation professionals, including 134,000 pilots, 138,000 technicians, and 161,000 cabin crew. The Chinese aviation fleet is projected to generate a demand worth $675 billion in aviation services, including maintenance, training, and spare parts.
Huo Daren believes that the global need for 42,600 new aircraft over the next 20 years is very close to Boeing's 2019 forecast, indicating that Boeing essentially lost three years of development from 2020 to 2022. This also signifies Boeing's unwavering confidence or consistent forecast for the future.
Before the briefing, Boeing's newly appointed China President, Liu Qing, made his first public appearance and briefly addressed the audience. He acknowledged that due to well-known reasons, Boeing faced challenges and setbacks in the Chinese market over the past four to five years. He expressed confidence that Boeing is at a new starting point and asked for continued support and attention, promising positive outcomes.
Boeing Ready to Resume 737MAX Deliveries in China
Boeing explained that several steps are necessary to restore delivery volumes in the Chinese market. Firstly, all delivered 737MAX aircraft must return to operation, followed by Chinese airlines resuming the acceptance of 737MAX. According to Boeing's data, over 95% of the 737MAX fleet in China has resumed operations. As for deliveries, Boeing stated they are prepared to support Chinese customers, with the exact timing of resumption to be determined jointly by regulators and users.
In addition to fulfilling existing orders, Boeing also faces challenges in securing and delivering new aircraft orders in China. In 2022 and the first half of 2023, Airbus secured hundreds of aircraft orders in the Chinese market. In contrast, Boeing's main achievement in 2023 was an order for 15 737MAX aircraft from Greater Bay Area Airlines, creating a noticeable gap between the two manufacturers.
Regarding future orders, Boeing responded that Huo Daren's visit to China would involve extensive discussions with various airline customers, the Civil Aviation Administration, and related government agencies. The main focus will be on opportunities for future market development and how Boeing's commercial products can better serve and meet the needs of the Chinese market.
Huo Daren mentioned that the largest segment of China's civil aviation market is the domestic and regional markets, which are primarily served by single-aisle aircraft. He expressed confidence in the 737 family's ability to offer efficiency and flexibility to the industry. Additionally, there's a significant demand for wide-body aircraft in the Chinese market, with over 100 Boeing 787s currently serving China. As China's international aviation market continues to open up, Huo believes there will be greater demand for long-haul wide-body aircraft, and the Boeing 787 is well-positioned to meet this demand.
Recently, due to safety concerns, Pratt & Whitney recalled a large number of PW1100G-JM engines for inspection. These engines are primarily installed on Airbus A320NEO series aircraft, leading to the grounding of hundreds of planes. Huo Daren candidly stated that the current situation with the A320NEO could further drive the market demand for the 737MAX. However, despite the increased demand, Boeing's current challenge is production capacity - how to produce more aircraft in a shorter time frame. "While there might be more demand for the 737MAX, there won't be any substantial changes in our aircraft supply in the short term," he added.