China used the occasion of the 2018 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai to highlight its military prowess with a flight of two of its stealth air force jets, but civilian technology was also on display. Matt Driskill recaps the show.
Manufacturers on hand at the show released figures that show China will indeed be the centre of the aviation universe in the coming years. Airbus released a forecast that shows China will need over 7,400 new passenger aircraft and freighters from 2018 to 2037, with a total market value of US$1 trillion and which represents more than 19 percent of the world total demand for over 37,400 new aircraft in the next 20 years.
According to Airbus’ 2018-2037 Global Market Forecast, new deliveries of passenger and freight aircraft for China will be more than 7,400 over the next 20 years, in the small segment typically covering the space where most of today’s single-aisle aircraft compete, there is a requirement for 6,180 new aircraft; In the medium segment, for missions requiring additional capacity and range flexibility, represented by smaller widebodies and longer-range single-aisle aircraft, Airbus forecasts demand for 870 passenger and freight aircraft; For additional capacity and range flexibility, in the large segment where most A350s are present today, there is a need for 240 aircraft. In the extra-large segment, typically reflecting high capacity and long range missions by the largest aircraft types including the A350-1000 and the A380, Airbus forecasts demand for 130 aircraft.
“China is one of the most powerful growth engines of global air transport. It will become the world’s number one aviation market in the very near future,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer. “Airbus’ share of the China mainland in-service fleet has steadily increased and now exceeds incumbent and competing aircraft types and keeps growing thanks to our cost-effective new generation products. In parallel the total value of our industrial cooperation with Chinese aviation industry is growing to US$1 billion by 2020.”
By 2037, the propensity for the Chinese population to fly will more than triple from 0.4 trips per capita today to 1.4. Private consumption from a growing middle class (550 million people today to 1.15 billion by 2037) is expected to be the main driver of future air traffic growth. Today this private consumption accounts for 37 percent to the Chinese economy, a share that should rise to 43 percent by 2037.
With these strong growth drivers China will become the lead country for passenger air traffic, for both domestic and international markets as passenger traffic for routes connecting China are forecast to grow well above the world average, at 6.3 percent over the next 20 years. Domestic China traffic has grown fourfold over the last 10 years with double digit growth rates and is expected to become the largest traffic flow in the next ten years. International traffic from/to China has almost doubled over the last 10 years.
Jets are not the only planes China will require. Turboprop maker ATR sees demand for over 1,000 new turboprops in China over the next 20 years valued at over US$25.6 billion. ATR released its own forecast that said these aircraft will be required to serve China’s rapidly developing Regional Aviation and General Aviation segments. ATR foresees that in 2037, 87 percent of the regional and general aviation activity will come from newly created routes, calculated at a total of close to 2,200.