THE Boeing Corp has discounted political changes in China as reason for the mainland's aviation industry to be held back from large-scale growth. In its latest market forecast, to be released officially in two weeks, the world's largest commercial aircraft manufacturer predicts that the mainland will be the world's fastest-growing aviation market over the next two decades, with passenger traffic growing at a rate of 11.5 per cent a year. Boeing's project director, current market outlook, Tim Meskill, said yesterday that while China's growth rate depended on that of its economy, political changes would have 'little to no impact' on the aviation boom. 'In China, nobody knows what will happen over the next 20 years,' Mr Meskill said. 'But political events will have little to no impact on growth in aviation in China. As incomes grow in China . . . we feel very confident people will fly at a much younger age, and fly more.' Mr Meskill also said the Asia-Pacific as a region would lead the world in growth to the year 2014, with it spending a large percentage of the estimated US$1 trillion the world's airlines would put down on new aircraft purchases. The world's aircraft fleet would grow to some 20,000 by 2014, almost doubling from its present size. However, the recovery in the airline industry, which has been badly hurt over the past five years, was making only a 'soft landing', he said. While airlines were recovering, many were starting to take out of storage many aircraft put away during tougher times, slowing down new aircraft sales. Mr Meskill said there were almost 1,000 large passenger aircraft in storage around the world, with about a third expected to be put back into service in the coming years. The rest would either stay there or be disposed of.