Airbus sees China demand for 5,970 jets over 20 years

An Airbus signage is pictured at the new Airbus Asia Training Centre in Singapore April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) - Aircraft maker Airbus Group AIR.PA on Tuesday said it had raised its 20-year forecast for aircraft demand in China by about 500 planes as growth in the country's middle class fuels private consumption, underpinning air travel growth.

Airbus said it expected total demand for 5,970 passenger jets worth $945 billion (773 billion pounds) in the next 20 years, including 4,230 medium-haul, single-aisle jets like its A320 or Boeing Co's BA.N 737.

The increase of about 500 aircraft compared to a previous prediction had been embedded in the plane maker’s global forecasts since July, but not previously published separately.

Airbus executives unveiled the Chinese forecasts at Airshow China, held every other year in Zhuhai, southern China.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell