China's domestic air travel market will grow nearly fivefold in the next 20 years, Boeing said yesterday. With an annual growth rate of 8.1 percent, China's domestic airline traffic is expected to increase from under one-fifth the size of the North American domestic market today, to over half its size by 2026, according to a Boeing report issued yesterday. The country will remain the largest commercial aircraft market outside the US in that period. China will need about 3,400 new airplanes, worth US$340 billion, over the next two decades, and the country's fleet will nearly quadruple to 4,460 by 2026, said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The nation's air cargo market will continue to lead the world and Chinese airlines are expected to add 300 freighters during the period, quadrupling its fleet, Tinseth said. But only 84 new freighters will be added, with the rest to be converted from passenger jets. China Aviation Industry Corp I (AVIC I), the country's leading aircraft manufacturer, will unveil its forecast on China's aviation market today during Aviation Expo/China 2007, which runs from today until Saturday at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. China will need only 340 regional jets by 2026, accounting for 10 percent of new aircraft deliveries, Boeing said yesterday. But AVIC I previously forecast the country would need up to 900 feeder-line aircraft by 2025. The Chinese company has been promoting its 70 to 100-seat ARJ21 and 50-seat MA60. "The regional jet market is a relatively small segment in the global aviation market and there are many competitors. It is just a market we choose not to serve," Tinseth said. Air travel between China and North America as well as between China and Europe will more than double in the next 20 years, and the number of city pairs will more than triple, Boeing said. Single-aisle airplanes, such as the B737 and A320, will still be the largest category, with new airplane deliveries reaching 2,200 in China, the Seattle-based company said.