US plane maker Boeing says growing Chinese demand for commercial planes will generate almost US$3 trillion worth of industry business over the next two decades, CNBC reported.

In its latest market outlook, it predicts that China will soon become the world’s largest aviation market and will need 8,090 new planes by 2038. Boeing believes within a decade that one-in-five airline passengers will be Chinese.

The figure would equate to US$1.3 trillion in current list prices. Boeing said associated services to maintain fleets would be even larger at US$1.6 trillion, meaning almost US$3 trillion worth of business could be up for grabs.

Boeing has said passenger traffic within China is tipped to grow at more than 6% a year until 2038 and China’s middle class is expected to double in size within a decade, CNBC reported.

While domestic flights are predicted to provide the lion’s share of growth, outward bound international travel will also increase.

“An expanding middle class, significant investment in infrastructure, and advanced technologies that make airplanes more capable and efficient, continue to drive tremendous demand for air travel,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of commercial marketing for Boeing said in a statement Tuesday.

China’s need for new and replacement planes between now and 2038 are broken down by Boeing’s analysts into 5,960 single-aisle jets, 1,780 widebody planes, 230 freighters, and 120 regional jets.

On a global basis, Boeing is projecting US$6.8 trillion worth of airplane sales by 2038 with a further US$9.1 trillion in services, CNBC reported.

More than 2,000 Boeing planes have already been delivered to China with around a quarter of the plane makers production line now delivered to Chinese customers. Boeing has said one third of its 737 planes are currently delivered to China.

FAA boss Stephen Dickson said Monday that he expects Boeing to submit its safety analysis of changes to the plane “in the coming days.” File photo.

The 737 Completion & Delivery Center in Zhoushan is a joint venture between Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (COMAC). It was built to provide interior furnishings and exterior paint to planes that have arrived from Seattle, CNBC reported.

In December last year, Air China received a 737 MAX 8 which was the first Boeing plane to be completed in China for a local customer.

But on March 11, China ordered its airlines to suspend operations of their 737 MAX 8 planes following two fatal crashes of the model within 5 months. In a sign of China’s growing importance as an aviation regulator, most other agencies and airlines followed suit over the next two days.

Meanwhile, according to ABC10, the nation’s top aviation regulator says he plans to go into a flight simulator and personally test changes that Boeing is making to the grounded 737 MAX.

Stephen Dickson also said Monday that he expects Boeing to submit its safety analysis of changes to the plane “in the coming days.”

Dickson is the new head of the Federal Aviation Administration, which will decide whether U.S. airlines can resume flying the 737 MAX.

Boeing hopes the plane will be back in service early in the October-through-December quarter.

Dickson is a former 737 pilot and Delta Air Lines executive. He told CNBC he plans to test the MAX in a simulator in Seattle this week.