Air Cargo Forum: Boeing lowers air cargo growth forecast but remains positive

Boeing has lowered its forecast for global air cargo demand over the next 20 years but it still expects roughly the same number of freighter aircraft to be required.
Speaking at a press conference at the Tiaca Air Cargo Forum in Paris, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth revealed that it expects air cargo demand to grow by around 4.2% per year over the next 20 years.
This compares with the aircraft manufacturer’s previous projection, made two years ago, of growth of 4.7%. Between 2016 and 2020 growth of around 3.7% is projected.
“We did bring the growth rate down and what we see is very consistent with other sources like IATA and Airbus. We all believe in time that freight will come back, it’s just a question of when.
“We used to see a market where cargo grew twice what was happening in global trade and our analysis shows that the relationship has slowed down.
“Trade slowed and also that relationship slowed and I think that is down to China. Industrial production in China was really pushing this industry and since that has slowed and come more in line with the rest of the world we have seen that relationship with trade and cargo change.”
Tinseth also pointed out that when it makes a forecast it isn’t looking at previous numbers and starts afresh each time.
While Boeing has reduced its growth forecast compared with two years ago the figures still compare favourably with recent years.
Boeing’s figures show that growth between 2008 and 2013 was 1.7% per year, in 2014 this increased to 5% as a result of the west coast port strikes and then last year shrank back to around 2.2%.
During the 20 year period, the Asia-North America market would remain the largest, growing by around 4.6% per year. Europe-Asia will remain the second largest trade lane and will also grow by 4.6%, while intra-Asia will become the third biggest market – overtaking intra-North America and the transatlantic – with a growth rate of 5.5%.
The fastest growing market will be domestic China at 6% per year.
Looking at the number of freighter aircraft that will be needed over the coming 20 years, the airline manufacturer said it expected this to be largely unchanged at around 2,370 aircraft − 930 new and 1,440 converted.
These aircraft will be required to replace aging freighters and also to meet demand growth.
Of the production freighters, 550 will be large widebodies capable of carrying more than 80 tonnes, and 380 will be medium-sized freighters that can carry between 40 and 80 tonnes.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes regional director, airline market analysis marketing & business development, Tom Crabtree said that more aircraft suitable for the express and e-commerce industries would be needed than previously thought.
“The equipment forecast hasn’t markedly changed but because of the growth we are seeing in the express sector and the driving force of e-commerce we are seeing increased demand for the widebody freighters both production and conversion.
“And because the struggling global market we are seeing a bit of a mark down in large widebody sector but it is still very strong and the biggest sector in our outlook.”
Tinseth was also questioned on the future of the Boeing 747-8 aircraft as its future has been somewhat put in doubt as the manufacturer has warned that it may scrap production if demand doesn’t pick-up
He said the future of the B747-8 was tied to the future success of the freight market and the need for replacement aircraft and added that it complemented the B777, Boeing’s other large widebody freighter.

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