World air cargo traffic to double over next two decades – report

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The world’s air cargo traffic will grow at an annual rate of 4.7% over the next two decades, with global air freight traffic expected to more than double by 2033, according to Boeing’s new World Air Cargo Forecast.

“We see strong signs of a recovery as air freight traffic levels continue to strengthen after several years of stagnation,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The air cargo market is now growing at nearly the long-term rates.”

World air cargo traffic began to grow again in second quarter of 2013 with growth reaching 4.4 percent for the first seven months of 2014, compared to the same period a year earlier. If this trend continues, 2014 will be the highest growth year for the air freight industry since 2010, Boeing said.

Much of the weak air cargo growth in the previous years can be attributed to two principal causes – an underperforming world economy and lacklustre trade growth, particularly in those traditional commodities served by the air cargo industry.

The new Boeing forecast shows Asia-North America and Europe-Asia will continue to be the dominant world air cargo markets with the most traffic volume. Intra-Asia, domestic China and Asia-North America markets are expected to have the fastest rates of growth over the next 20 years.

With increased air cargo traffic, the world freighter fleet is also expected to grow with deliveries of 840 new factory-built airplanes and 1,330 passenger to freighter conversion airplanes. More than 52 percent of those deliveries are expected to replace retiring airplanes and the remainder used for growth.



Boeing expects 590 new large freighters (over 80 tonnes) to be delivered through 2033 and these will be valued at $190 billion. Around 250 medium (40-80 tonne) freighters worth $50 billion will be delivered over the same period, for a total of 840 new aircraft.