The head of Boeing’s operations in China expressed hope in the easing of trade tensions between the US and China.

“We would hope that the two governments can find a way to work their way through these difficulties,” Boeing China president John Bruns said at the Zhuhai Air Show in China. “We are encouraging that.”

After the Trump administration levied tariffs on many Chinese exports earlier this year, China retaliated by announcing a potential 25% tariff on US-made aircraft weighing between 15 and 45 tonnes. That would include the 737NG but not the heavier 737 MAX.

China received its 1,000th Boeing aircraft in 2013, 49 years after the first; just five years later the company is close to delivering the 2,000th. Asked whether Boeing could maintain such a rate of business in China amid the trade war, Bruns said: “We hope so.”

Bruns also said Chinese orders are becoming less clustered around the beginning of the country’s five-year planning periods, the next of which begins in 2021.

China plans economic development in five-year phases, and airlines must submit plans for each period to Chinese authorities, who consider demand forecasts and decide how many aircraft of various types should be introduced into service. This has resulted in airlines or the government’s aviation purchasing agency asking for aircraft at short notice near the beginning of the planning period, only to be told that not enough are available.

“There is still some cyclicality to that,” Bruns said, but not as much as before.

Bradley Perrett,