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Boeing sales in China soar to new heights

Publication Date : 23-01-2014

 

The Boeing Co. hit a new record by delivering 143 airplanes to the Chinese mainland in 2013, a 60 per cent year-on-year increase, the US-based aircraft manufacturer revealed on Wednesday.

Adding deliveries to other Chinese regions, the total delivery number was 168 in 2013, said Marc Allen, president of Boeing China.

China is the only country outside the US currently operating more than 1,000 Boeing aircraft, he said. The manufacturer delivered 28 per cent of Boeing 737 aircraft made in the US to China in 2013.

"Importantly, we expect this rate - more than 140 aircraft deliveries a year - to continue this year and in the future," Allen said.

China's fast development of air traffic and airlines are the main reasons for the manufacturer's delivery growth, he added.

Boeing's main rival also benefited from China's robust market in 2013.

Airbus SAS delivered 133 airplanes to China in 2013, accounting for more than 20 per cent of its global deliveries.

It is also the fourth year in a row for Airbus' deliveries to China to exceed 100. The European aircraft manufacturer plans to maintain this rate in 2014, said Robin Tao, Airbus China spokesman, on Wednesday.

Over the past year, the two major airplane builders both received more than 200 orders in China.

Boeing received more than 230 orders from the China market, with 130 of them from leasing companies, Marc Allen said.

"It is the first year that Boeing sold airplanes directly to Chinese leasing companies. They contributed more than half of the orders over the year," said Allen, who will take over the position of Boeing Capital Corp's president in March.

All the orders from leasing companies are narrow-bodied aircraft, including both the Boeing 737 NG and 737 Max. The first Boeing airplane will be delivered to a Chinese leasing company in 2014, he added.

China's leasing market will be a main segment for aircraft manufacturers in the future, after the central government released the suggestion it would support the aircraft leasing industry at the end of 2013.

There are five leasing companies with more than 5 billion yuan (US$826 million) registered capital in China at present. Domestic leasing companies run more than 300 aircraft currently.

"China's aircraft leasing industry will have a golden period in the coming two decades," said Wei Tao, an analyst from China Securities Co Ltd.

It is common for airlines to add capacity through leasing aircraft in the global civil aviation industry, he said, but China's leasing market was monopolized by international companies for a long time. China's own leasing industry will develop substantially in the future with the government's support, he added.

The newly established privately owned airlines also pushed the aircraft manufacturers' order growth upwards in China.

China's aviation authority accepted applications for new airlines in early 2013 after a six-year suspension. The first new carrier in China since 2007 started flights in December.

"The market segmentation has become much richer and more robust compared with five years ago," Boeing's Allen said.

China is not only a market for airplanes from other countries but also a significant supplier to international aircraft manufacturers.

The contract value between Boeing and its Chinese suppliers increased by 20 per cent in 2013 compared with 2012. AVIC Xi'an Aircraft Industry Co Ltd became the first Chinese supplier of the Boeing 737 Max last year.

In 2013, the assembly line of Airbus in Tianjin delivered 46 A320 family aircraft, which was nine more than it managed in 2012.

 

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