Airlines Aviation News

Boeing Forecasts Heavy Growth for Cargo Air Traffic in Next 2 Decades

In its biannual World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF) Boeing painted the picture of what freight air transport is going to look like in 20 years time. The forecast gives a clear picture on how this segment of aviation industry is going to evolve in the eyes of the American manufacturer.

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A Sustained and Constant Growth for Cargo Airliners

Boeing’s WACF analysis states that it is likely there will be a very strong and constant impulse to expansion for air cargo operations. The Seattle based manufacturer forecasts that over the next 20 years the world will need 2,800 new or converted freighters.

These planes entering the market will both replace and expand the existing global fleet. This will translate in a doubling of current air freight traffic volumes by 2041.

Of these 2,800 new or converted freighters, the forecast is that only one third of them will be new. Hence the other two thirds of demand will have to come from converted passenger airliners.

In particular there will be a significant number of converted 737-800s entering the market. These will prove particularly useful in developing markets where operations flexibility is key.

CargoLux Air Cargo Freighter 747-8 landing

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The Shift To Fuel Efficiency

It is a fact that cargo airlines are less concerned with having newer fuel efficient planes compared to their passenger counterparts. However Boeing forecasts that there will be in the next 20 years a need to transition to newer fuel efficient freighters, such as the 777-8.

Some Interesting Insights From Boeing’s WACF

In conclusion to the analysis the giant aircraft producer offered us some interesting pieces of data to recap what is and will be of the air cargo market in the coming years.

  • At the moment freighters are only 8% of the global aircraft fleet. However this small percentage carries approximately 50% of global air freight.
  • The global fleet of cargo planes will see an increase of 60% of its units. 1,300 freighters will be added to the fleet bringing it to approximately 3,600 jets in 2041.
  • Asia-Pacific region will be the center of attention in terms of this expansion. Just around 40% of all converted and new cargo airliners will be delivered to this region.
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