AIRSHOW CHINA: Comac 20-year forecast sees demand worth $3.9 trillion

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Chinese airframer Comac is forecasting that the world's passenger aircraft fleet will more than double over the next 20 years, with a need for some $3.9 trillion worth of new jets.

This translates into 31,739 new aircraft for both replacement and growth, resulting in a global fleet size of 37,207 aircraft by 2031, says Comac at Airshow China in Zhuhai. This is the third time the airframer is sharing its 20-year market forecast.

It is expecting single-aisle aircraft to make up 65.2% of the global fleet in 2031, up from the current 62.2%.

The share of regional jets meanwhile will drop from 18.8% to 13.4% as higher fuel prices make the operation of smaller jets uneconomical. The majority of these jets will be 160-seaters, it adds.

Twin-aisle aircraft will account for 21.4% of the global fleet, a slight increase from the current 18.6%, says Comac. A majority of these widebodies will be 250-seater aircraft.

Comac is also forecasting that Chinese airlines alone will need to take delivery of 4,960 aircraft worth $563 billion over the next 20 years. This means that the country will account for 16% of the global aircraft fleet, up from 10% in 2011.

"Over the next two decades, Chinese air traffic demand is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 7.1% - faster than any other region in this forecast. In 2011, China accounted for 10% of worldwide aviation traffic demand, but by 2031, it is forecast to have a 15% share of global traffic," it adds.

Asia Pacific's fleet share will grow from 24% to 35% by 2031. North America meanwhile will see its share fall from 32% to 21% while that of Europe will fall from 23% to 21%, reflecting the slower growth in these mature markets.

Comac declined to say how much market share it hopes to gain with its indigenous ARJ21 regional jet and C919 twinjet programmes. Its sales and marketing manager Chen Jin adds however that there is a huge Chinese demand that the airframer hopes to meet.