Boeing has upgraded its 20-year demand forecast for China to nearly 3,400 new jet aircraft.

The airframe manufacturer says in a statement from Beijing that its latest market forecast for China anticipates new-aircraft demand to be worth around $340 billion through 2026. In last year’s forecast it said it anticipated 2,900 new aircraft would be needed in China over 20 years.

In its new forecast Boeing says China’s fleet will nearly quadruple to 4,460 aircraft by 2026, as airlines seek to meet demand on the back of average annual domestic RPK growth of 8.8% as well as strong growth in demand for international travel.

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

"Over the forecast period, China will have the fastest-growing market, making it the largest market outside of the US for new commercial airplanes."

Boeing expects 737-sized single-aisle aircraft will account for 2,200 of the nearly 3,400 new aircraft required by China’s airlines through 2026, while intermediate twin-aisle aircraft such as the 777 and 787 will account for around 750 deliveries. It expects demand for around 90 aircraft in the 747-and-larger category, as well as 330 regional jets.

Of the nearly 3,400 new aircraft that Boeing expects China will need, around 300 are likely to be new freighter aircraft.

"Its total fleet of freighter airplanes will more than quadruple in size" by 2026, Boeing adds.