BEIJING -- China's airlines are likely to triple the size of their fleets over the next two decades, driven by strong economic growth and rising tourism spending, Chicago-based Boeing Co. said Thursday.
Boeing and European rival Airbus Industries are looking to China to drive sales as growth in demand cools elsewhere. China's economic growth fell to a two-decade low of 7.5 percent in the latest quarter but that still was well above forecasts for the United States and Europe.
Purchases by Chinese carriers should rise 7 percent a year through to 2032, totaling 5,580 planes for $780 billion, Boeing Co. said in an annual sales outlook. It said that should account for one-sixth of global sales.
The outlook represents an increase over last year's 20-year forecast of sales of 5,260 new airplanes valued at $670 million in 2012-2031.
"Tourism in China and intra-Asia travel will help spur a strong demand for single-aisle airplanes," the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer said in a statement.
It said sales of wide-body planes should be driven by growth in long-haul traffic to and from China.