According to the July 2016 ATR Market Forecast, demand for new turboprops in China is expected to reach 300 units by 2035. ATR anticipates that regional network development is the next big opportunity in China, with some 800 new regional routes expected to be created by turboprops over the next 20 years.
Of the 300 deliveries of new turboprops forecast within the next 20 years, 270 would be in the 61/80-seat segment and 30 in the 40/60-seat segment.
ATR sees tremendous potential to introduce modern turboprops for short-haul route development in China. As of today, regional aircraft only represent some 2.5% of the total fleet operating in China, compared to 25% worldwide.
Nearly 80% of the turboprops expected for delivery in China will be used to create new routes. This is particularly expected in less densely populated cities and regions, which have less developed road infrastructure, limitations to developing high-speed train networks, and lower traffic demand.
The development of an improved airport network serving all regions of the country is expected to boost demand. The Chinese government forecasts the development of some 70 new airports within the next 5 years, a substantial addition to the 200 airports currently operating in the country.
For more than 20 years, China has been a major partner of the programme. Xian Aircraft Company (XAC), a subsidiary of China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), produces several major components of the ATR aircraft, including fuselage sections for the 50-seat ATR 42s and the 70-seat ATR 72s and outer wing boxes for the ATR 42s.