CHINA / National

China's fleet to double in five years
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-06 06:13

George Liu, Boeing China's vice-president of communications, told China Daily that Boeing's goal is to keep its market share in China for many years to come. As of December 2005, 542 or 61 per cent of the 888 commercial jetliners operating on the Chinese mainland were Boeing airplanes.

Vice-Premier Wu Yi signed the Chinese order in early April for 80 Boeing 737s (worth US$5.2 billion). The company's China operation executives are still trying to sell more to match, and hopefully exceed, its last year's record of 120 aircrafts. Boeing's 2005 sales in China were around US$11.8 billion.

He said 12 per cent of the company's 2005 global sales would grow. "China is and will remain Boeing's most important and largest overseas market for years to come and that will create more quality jobs for American designing engineers, test pilots and assembly line workers," Liu said.

The company's next step in its China sales campaign, Liu said, is to "pitch in the efforts to offer more twin-aisle and long-range aircraft to Chinese airlines."

A CAAC report released in the end of 2005 also predicted China would need to purchase new long-range, twin-aisle aircraft as it became a destination for a growing number of international travellers. Moreover, Chinese people were taking more frequent overseas trips, said the report.

Boeing's rival Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, also believed in the great market potential of big aircraft in China.

A report offered by Airbus China's communication department cited that China needs at least 200 large airplanes such as the 555-seat Airbus A380, the biggest passenger aircraft to date, in the next 20 years.

China Southern Airlines has already ordered five A380 aircrafts, which are to be delivered by the end of 2007. These have been ordered ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

In addition, Air China, China Eastern Airlines and other carriers are upgrading and expanding their fleets of Airbus and Boeing.

Airbus has steadily ramped up its fleet in China with a market share increasing from 7 per cent in 1995 to 34 per cent in 2005. But its US rival, Boeing, still holds most of the rest of the market. "We aim to dominate half of China's market by 2013," the Airbus report said.

(China Daily 05/06/2006 page1)

Page: 12