Boeing predicts air cargo growth patterns

Boeing predicts: Worldwide freighter fleet to grow to 3563 airplanes in 2025 from current 1789; traffic to grow at annual average of 6.1% over next twenty years.

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By  David Ingham Published  September 24, 2006

Beoing’s World Air Cargo Forecast 2006/2007 has predicted that the worldwide freighter fleet will increase to 3563 airplanes in 2025 from the current 1789. A total of 2983 freighters are expected to join the global fleet during the 2006-2025 period, 1209 as replacements for retired aircraft and 1774 to add new capacity. Around 2,217 airplanes will come from passenger to freighter modifications, while 766 will be new production freighters. Widebody planes, Boeing predicts, will grow to represent 64% of the fleet, compared to 50% now, and represent more than 90% of total freighter capacity. Boeing also predicted that world air cargo traffic (freight and mail) will grow at an average annual rate of 6.1% over the 2006-2005 period. Asia will continue to lead the way, with domestic China and intra-Asia markets expanding at 10.8% and 8.6% per year, respectively. “Air cargo markets linked to Asia will continue to lead other markets through 2025, led by the highest growth in intra-Asia and domestic China traffic,” said Nicole Piasecki, vice president, business strategy & marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “International air cargo traffic growth will be driven by increased international trade, increased liberalisation of air services and the improving technologies that our industry continues to incorporate: increases in lower hold capacity and more fuel-efficient freighters. Cargo tends to lead liberalisation, which is a driver of economic growth.” Boeing’s research confirmed that the last year and a half has been somewhat challenging for the industry. The year 2005 saw worldwide air cargo traffic grow just 2.0% year on year, following 12.0% growth in 2004. In the first six months of 2006, worldwide air cargo traffic grew 3.1% over the same period in 2005. A major contributor to the slowdown has been the high cost of jet fuel. The spot jet fuel price increased 42% in 2005, ending at an average of $1.69 per gallon. During the first six months of 2006, the spot jet fuel price averaged $1.96 per gallon.

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