The growing Chinese air travel industry will lead the Asia Pacific region over the next two decades, Boeing said Thursday.

The Chicago-based airplane manufacturer projects a demand in China for 6,020 new passenger planes valued at $870 billion by 2033.

Boeing, China's leading provider of commercial airplanes, said in its annual China Current Market Outlook the country will take delivery of nearly 45 percent of the total demand for passenger jets in the region.

"China's aviation market is going through dynamic changes," said Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing. "New business models like low-cost carriers and airplane leasing companies, a new generation of fuel-efficient airplanes and evolving consumer needs are driving demand for more direct flights to more destinations."

Boeing airplanes such as the 737 MAX, 777X and 787 Dreamliner are well-positioned to take passengers directly to their destinations and help airlines generate more revenue, according to Boeing.

The 787 is assembled in North Charleston as well as Everett, Wash. Engine inlet components for the new 737 MAX will be made in the Lowcountry starting next year when a new factory under construction is completed.

The forecast also shows how the emergence of start-up airlines and low-cost carriers stimulates traffic and allows more people to fly.

Tourism in China and intra-Asia travel support a strong demand for single-aisle airplanes, with total deliveries reaching 4,340 through 2033. Tinseth said both the Next-Generation 737-800 and new 737 MAX 8 offer the airline customers the most revenue potential in this segment.

Chinese airlines with large global networks continue to look for opportunities to expand as international flying increases from secondary cities apart from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Growth in the long-haul segment is expected to result in demand for an additional 1,480 new fuel-efficient wide-bodies, such as the 777, 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 Intercontinental. This year's forecast reflects a continued shift in demand from very large airplanes to efficient new small and medium wide-body airplanes, according to Boeing.

"To compete in the tough long-haul international market, our Chinese customers are focused on evolving new business models, adding new destinations, increasing their capacity and resources," Tinseth said. "These trends will shape market demand for an airplane lineup that has high efficiency, low operating costs, environmentally progressive technologies and a great passenger experience. We believe Boeing's comprehensive wide-body portfolio is perfectly aligned to meet those needs."

Worldwide, Boeing projects investments of $5.2 trillion for 36,770 new commercial airplanes to be delivered during the next 20 years. China accounts for more than 16 percent of the total demand in terms of both new deliveries and market value.

More than 50 percent of all the commercial jetliners operating in China are Boeing airplanes.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or