China is keen for new airplanes with more than 2,600 needed in future

According to Boeing Co. analysis China will need more than 2,600 new airplanes worth US$213 billion over the next 20 years as the country's economy expands and air travel becomes widespread.

China "is significantly the fastest growing market in the world," said Randy Baseler, Boeing's vice president of marketing, who was in Beijing for a trade show that starts Wednesday.

China is also expected to remain the world's largest airplane market outside the United States over the next 20 years, Baseler added at a press conference.

Boeing anticipates China's fleet will nearly quadruple to 3,200 airplanes by 2025 as the air travel market grows 7.3 percent a year - compared with worldwide market growth of 4.8 percent a year.

The Chicago-based firm hopes its single-aisle Boeing 737 jet, which carries about 150 passengers, will make up the bulk of China's new purchases. It also touted its medium-sized 777s and 787s, which carry 250 to 300 passengers.

In Boeing's view, China's needs are best served by smaller planes serving more frequent routes and more cities - rather than the bigger jets offered by its European archival Airbus.

"The high demand for single-aisle airplanes will be driven by an increasing affluence among the Chinese people and an increased desire to travel," The AP quoted Baseler as saying.

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