Boeing projects air cargo operators will need more than 2,600 freighters over the next two decades to keep up with increasing global freight traffic, which is expected to double with 4.2% growth annually.

The 980 new medium and large freighters and 1,670 converted freighters will go toward replacing older aeroplanes and growing the global fleet to meet demand, according to the new World Air Cargo Forecast, released by Boeing.

Growth drivers

Some of the factors driving the growth in air cargo market include a growing express market in China and the global rise of e-commerce, which is forecast to increase 20% annually to nearly $5 trillion (£3.8 trillion) in 2021, according to Boeing’s analysis.

“The air cargo market continues to be a major element of commercial aviation’s growth story,” said Darren Hulst, managing director of Market Analysis & Sales Support at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our new forecast indicates strong long-term air cargo trends, which coincide with the market recovery that we have seen over the last few years across Europe, North America and Asia.”

Boeing also forecasts:

  • The world freighter fleet will expand by more than 70%, from the current total of 1,870 to 3,260 aeroplanes.
  • New production freighter deliveries valued at $280 billion (£213 billion).
  • Demand for regional express services in fast-developing economies will boost the standard-body share of the freighter fleet from 37% today to 39%.
  • 1,170 standard body and 500 medium wide-body passenger aeroplanes will be converted into freighters over the next two decades.

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