Wings Magazine

Boeing Forecasts Long-Term Growth in Air Cargo Traffic

Boeing has said that world air cargo growth will expand at a 5.8 percent annual rate over the next two decades, with worldwide air freight traffic tripling through 2027.

November 4, 2008  By Carey Fredericks

Nov. 4, 2008, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Boeing has said that world air cargo growth will expand at a
5.8 percent annual rate over the next two decades, with worldwide air
freight traffic tripling through 2027, according to Boeing's World Air
Cargo Forecast 2008/2009.

Air cargo traffic will
grow over the long term despite current near-term market weakness and
worldwide economic uncertainty. The industry has shown strong
recoveries from previous economic downturns such as the Asian economic
crisis, the 9/11 attacks and the SARS outbreak.

released the biennial forecast, which is widely cited by airlines and
industry groups, at the International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition
2008 in Kuala Lumpur. "Our research tells us that long-term economic
growth, freighter fleet renewal and moderating jet fuel prices will
stimulate air cargo traffic growth," said Randy Tinseth, vice
president, Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "These positive
prospects will prevail despite the industry's concerns about our
current economic challenges.

"World GDP is projected
to average just higher than 3 percent during the next 20 years,"
Tinseth said. "Asian production fundamentals – including abundant raw
materials and low-cost labor – remain solid, and China will remain a
source of strong economic growth with substantial industrialization and
related investment."

Cargo tends to be at the forefront of increased liberalization of air services, which is a driver of economic growth.


air cargo market growth will continue to lead all global traffic
routes. Domestic Chinese and intra-Asian markets will grow 9.9 percent
and 8.1 percent per year, respectively. Asia-related markets will
experience growth in excess of the global average.

seen market contraction during the middle of this year for the first
time since late 2003; however, history tells us that the air cargo
market returns robustly when the economy strengthens," said Jim Edgar,
regional director, Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and a
contributor to the forecast. "Air cargo remains crucial to

Boeing predicts the world freighter
fleet will increase to 3,890 airplanes from 1,950 during the 20-year
period. Large freighters such as the Boeing 747 and 777 ultimately will
represent 35 percent of the fleet, compared to 26 percent today, while
providing 74 percent of total capacity. This segment will require 640
new factory-built airplanes. More than 75 percent of the 3,360
freighters joining the fleet – 2,500 airplanes – will come from
passenger-to-freighter modifications, while 860 will be new production

Edgar noted that Boeing provides the
most complete and efficient freighter product line, including new
production freighters and passenger-to-freighter conversions, teaming
with industry leaders to provide innovative conversion solutions to
match virtually any air cargo requirement.

The World Air Cargo Forecast 2008/2009 is available at
and the full text is downloadable in PDF format. Boeing has published
the biennial World Air Cargo Forecast as an individual report since


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