(Reuters) - Brazil’s Embraer SA, the world’s largest maker of regional jets, expects China to buy 15 percent of new 61- to 120-seat aircraft by 2031 as a growing middle class bolsters travel between second-tier cities.
Embraer released the regional aviation estimate at an air show in Guangdong Province on Tuesday, forecasting 1,005 new jets in the segment over the next 20 years. Last year, Embraer forecast 975 new regional jets in China by 2030, representing 13 percent of global demand.
The company also said it sees Chinese demand for 650 business aircraft by 2022 worth $24 billion, making up 9 percent of global deliveries by value.
Embraer has delivered 120 commercial jets in China since 2000, capturing 77 percent of the Chinese market for aircraft smaller than 120 seats and diversifying away from U.S. and European markets that have struggled in recent years.
The planemaker also got clearance in June to begin producing its Legacy 650 executive jet in China, reducing the cost and inconvenience of selling planes requiring import licenses.
From 2012 to 2031, Chinese airlines are likely to receive some 455 jets with 61 to 90 seats and 550 jets with 91 to 120 seats, according to the planemaker’s estimates.
Reporting by Brad Haynes and Cesar Bianconi in Sao Paulo;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid