CIS airlines to outgrow overall cargo market

13 / 10 / 2017

  • Tom Crabtree

    Tom Crabtree

Cargo airlines based in the CIS region are growing much faster than their counterparts in other areas of the world.

Speaking at the Caspian Air Cargo Summit, Boeing Commercial Airplanes regional director, airline market analysis marketing & business development Tom Crabtree said that airlines based in CIS countries had seen the freight tonne kms flown increase by 31% over the first eight months of the year.

This compares with overall market growth of around 10.5% over the same period.

He said that the largest carrier based in the region, AirBridgeCargo (ABC), had grown by around 16% over that period, while number two carrier Silk Way was up by around 92% and third placed Aeroflot was up by 38.7%, even though it only offers belly capacity.

He added that some of the Aeroflot growth was down to it picking up traffic previously carried by the bankrupt Transaero.

Crabtree said one of the reasons for growth at the airlines in the region was its central location.

“The reason there is a lot of cargo growth in that region is that if you draw a triangle from London  to Tokyo and down to Johannesburg, within that region you have 86% of the world’s population and two thirds of the world’s economic activity,” he said.

“Over the next 20 years that will expand to about 70% of the world’s economic activity. If you draw an axis from Moscow down to Addis Ababa in Africa you can see why ABC, Silk Way, Turkish, the Middle Eastern carriers and even Ethiopian Airlines are growing very quickly compared with the overall market.”

Crabtree said the market was largely inbound traffic and had rebounded to around 1.1m tonnes in 2016 after western sanctions on Russia took their toll on the market starting in around 2013.

Looking ahead, Crabtree expects the CIS cargo market to grow in line with the overall market at about 4.2% per year between 2016 and 2036, despite the region’s GDP only improving by around 2% per year over the same period.

He said the differential between cargo traffic and GDP was down to transit traffic that the region would pick up.

Meanwhile, the overall fleet was expected to grow by 3.5% and CIS fleet is predicted to increase by 3% per year.

“The industry based here in the CIS region totals about 200 heavy freighters, including the turboprop an-12,” said Crabtree.

“The IL-76 fleet has remained fairly stable because there is some stability in terms of spare parts and the B747 fleet has doubled over the last five years in this region, based on Silk Way, Sky Gates, and ABC and even Transavia.

“The fleet growth will largely come from western type aircraft in the CIS region, but  there is an effort to produce freighters and we do think that indigenously built freighters will remain a central part of the CIS market.”