Beijing: China has emerged as a major market for US-based aerospace giant - Boeing - as it delivered its 1,000th airplane here making the country its first market outside America to pass the one-thousand threshold.
"This is a very, very big deal for us," Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Boeing Company Northeast Asia said at a delivery ceremony.
The 1,000th airplane, a Next-Generation 737-800 with the Boeing Sky Interior painted in special peacock livery, will join China Eastern Yunnan Airlines.
"We will fly to Yunnan (a province in southwestern China) tomorrow after the delivery," said Shi Fukang, general manager of the China Eastern Airlines Yunnan Company.
The Next-Generation 737 uses an advanced system called Head-up Display, which comprises a transparent glass display positioned between the pilot's eye and flight deck window to show critical information such as airspeed, altitude and attitude, and flight path.
China has become one of the world's most dynamic markets for commercial planes. Boeing forecasts that China will need 5,260 new airplanes, valued at about USD 670 billion, in the next 20 years.
"This year we will be delivering over 170 airplanes to China. This year we increase our delivery to China by 60 percent compared to last year. So if you look at 170 (airplanes) a year and in five or six years, even seven years we will reach the next milestone," Mounir said.
Cooperation between Boeing and China's aviation industry traces back to 1916.
The first engineer that Bill Boeing hired was China-born Wong Tsoo, who helped design the company's first commercial success -- the Model C bi-wing airplane.
In 1972, the historic visit by US President Richard Nixon to China led to the introduction of Boeing aircraft to the market. More than 7,000 Boeing airplanes operating throughout the world use major parts and assemblies from China.
Chinese suppliers contribute parts and components to every current Boeing commercial airplane model, including 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787.
"In fact the airplane behind me has the horizontal stabiliser that was built in China... We have more than 7,000 airplanes flying with parts and systems built in China," Mounir said.
Boeing airplanes comprise more than half of the commercial jetliners operated in China, providing service to more than 20 Chinese airlines.
As one of the three major airlines in China, the China Eastern Airlines currently operates the largest 737 fleet among Chinese airline, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.