Boeing forecasts 6.1 percent annual world cargo growth for 20 years
Despite higher fuel costs during the last two years, a Boeing Co. forecast expects world air freight levels to increase at an average annual rate of 6.1 percent during the next 20 years.
“Cargo has been tempered somewhat with increases in fuel surcharges, but we continue to see the growth in 2006,” said Nicole Piasecki, vice president of business strategy and marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, at a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday announcing the release of its World Air Cargo Forecast 2006-2007.
Piasecki said air cargo markets tied to Asia will continue to lead other markets through 2025, with intra-Asia and domestic China traffic heading the pack. China domestic air cargo is expected to increase to 10.8 percent a year, followed by intra-Asian routes at 8.6 percent.
“International air cargo traffic growth will be driven by increased international trade, increased liberalization of air services and the improving technologies that our industry continues to incorporate: increases in lower hold capacity and more fuel-efficient freighters,” Piasecki said.
The Boeing report pointed out that Asia/North America air cargo will average 7.1 percent and Europe/Asia will average 6.9 percent. More mature markets, such as North America and intra-Europe, will expand more slowly than the world average. Routes involving Latin America and the Middle East will experience similar growth, according to the Boeing forecast. Europe/Southwest Asia will see slightly higher than average growth at 6.2 percent.
Subsequently, Boeing predicts the world freighter fleet will increase to 3,563 planes from 1,789 during the 20-year forecast period. The greatest growth will be in widebody freighters such as the Boeing 747, 777, and 767, the aircraft manufacturer said. Widebody freighters will represent 64 percent of the fleet, compared to 50 percent today, eventually comprising more than 90 percent of total freighter capacity.
Of the 2,983 freighters expected to join the fleet, the Boeing forecast said 1,209 freighters would be replacements for retired planes and 1,774 for growth. More than 75 percent, or 2,217 planes, will come from passenger/combi-to-freighter conversions, while 766 will be new production freighters.
The forecast report is available online at http://www.boeing.com/commercial/cargo.