Boeing delivered its 2,000th aircraft to China on the last day of November. Boeing 737 MAX8 B-1136 was handed over to Xiamen Airlines adorned with a special inscription on the nose marking the significance of the event.
It is more than 45 years since CAAC's (Civil Aviation Administration of China, now Air China) first Boeing, 707-3J6 B-2402, arrived in Shanghai. Four more of the type followed in fairly short order, along with 737 twin-jets and then a few 747 jumbos. More 747s, 757s and 767s were next on the agenda, with 777s and 787s being ordered in due course. Air China has become one of only three carriers operating the latest version of the 747 - the 8i - in passenger configuration. Nevertheless it took until 2013 for the 1,000th Boeing jet to delivered be the country - so it took forty years to hand over the first 1,000 and just five years for the next thousand.
In the mean time though, Airbus hasn't been napping and its involvement in the country has even included opening a final assembly line for the A320 at Tianjin in 2008. Since then more than 340 of the narrowbodied jets have rolled out of the facility. Local airlines have also acquired A300s, A310s, A319s, A321s, A330s, A340s, A350s and even A380s. Last year the European firm handed over 176 to Chinese carriers, while the American manufacturer's total was 202.
Boeing estimates that 18% of the world's airliner production will go to China by 2037 and that the country will need 7,690 new aircraft between now and then. Its an impressive statistic, and points to the still growing prominence and importance of the country in the success of the world's economy.
Text © The Aviation Oracle