Airbus is forecasting that China will need around 5,300 new passenger aircraft and freighters over the next 20 years, as demand soars in domestic and international travel.

In its 2014-2033 Global Market Forecast, the airframer says that China's aircraft demand, valued at $820 billion, will represent 17% of the worldwide demand for over 31,000 new aircraft.

Of the 5,300 aircraft - 3,500 will be narrowbodies, 1,500 in widebodies and over 300 in the very large aircraft segment.

Airbus expects China to become the leading country for passenger air traffic, for both domestic and international travel, with the figure set to grow beyond the world average. This is attributed to a booming Chinese economy that has seen rapid urbanisation, led by rising average wages.

On domestic air traffic, the company believes China will become the world’s leader within 10 years, overtaking the US in passenger numbers in 2023 and revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) in 2027.

Airbus’ Global Market Forecast says that the average annual growth rate for the domestic Chinese market is expected to be 7.1% in the next 20 years, but will grow even faster from 2014 to 2023 at an 8.3% annual average. China’s domestic market will remain the largest flow, accounting for 11.9% of world traffic in terms of RPK.

The average annual growth rate for international traffic in and out of China will meanwhile be at a 8.1% annual average. For markets between emerging Asian countries and China, Airbus is forecasting an average annual growth of 7%, while routes between China and the US will set at 6%, and those between Western Europe and China to hit 5.6%.

“Domestic passenger traffic in Mainland China has more than quadrupled over the last 10 years,” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers.

“Airbus’ share of the in-service fleet of aircraft over 100 seats on the Chinese mainland has reached 50% in 2013. In the next 20 years, the greatest demand for passenger aircraft will come from China."

Source: Cirium Dashboard