Date
26 March 2017
Aircraft in all shapes and sizes are on display in last year's Singapore airshow. Manufacturers are looking to China this year to keep their business flying. Photo: aionline.com
Aircraft in all shapes and sizes are on display in last year's Singapore airshow. Manufacturers are looking to China this year to keep their business flying. Photo: aionline.com

Airbus, Boeing look to China to buffer Southeast Asia slowdown

Financial markets in turmoil. India and Southeast Asia on hold or in retreat.

But you can’t tell that from the array of shiny new aircraft in Singapore next week when Asia’s biggest airshow takes off.

Airbus Group S.E. and Boeing Co. look to score a successful run thanks to, China, the new world power in aviation.

The heyday of multi-billion orders from India and nations in Southeast Asia is giving way to concerns about airlines in the region delaying delivery of planes, Bloomberg reports.

China Southern Airlines Co., Air China Ltd. and other carriers in the nation will require about 6,330 new planes worth US$950 billion in the next two decades, according to Chicago-based Boeing. That’s about 17 percent of the global total.

During last year alone, Chinese airlines and leasing companies announced orders for some 780 planes valued at about US$102 billion.

“China’s aviation outlook is not just bright, but arguably the strongest it has been in its history,” said Will Horton, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation. “Chinese airlines are waking up to their potential.”

As China re-balances its economy toward consumer spending after its slowest annual growth rate in 25 years, the government is trying to encourage more air travel by building 66 airports as part of its current five-year plan.

That good news for the aerospace and airline industries contrasts with overcapacity and losses among airlines in Southeast Asia and India.

From Brazil’s Embraer S.A. to Bombardier Inc. of Canada, aerospace manufacturers will chase hard to come by orders during the Singapore Airshow, which starts Tuesday.

United Technologies Corp.’s engine-maker Pratt & Whitney will open its engine fan-blade manufacturing facility in the city state this week.

No major Chinese airline executive will be at the show.

China’s future as the world’s biggest travel and aircraft market and a gradual shift in momentum toward Asia are among themes aerospace manufacturers and airlines will discuss.

Airbus’s and Boeing’s 20-year outlooks are dependent on Asia Pacific for new fleet sales, with estimates that 39 percent of their total deliveries will be to that region through 2034.

China is poised to displace the US as the world’s biggest aircraft and travel market in two decades, according to Boeing.

The Chicago-based company announced its largest industrial investment in China and received US$38 billion in orders from its carriers and lessors when President Xi Jinping visited Boeing’s Seattle factory in September. Airbus already has a final jet assembly facility near Beijing.

“The overall Chinese economy has slowed down,” Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association, said in Singapore Sunday.

“However, air travel in China has remained quite robust.”

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CG/RA

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