Boeing sees uptick in freighter demand but prices slump

US plane-maker Boeing has marginally increased its forecast for world freighter demand in the latest edition of its Current Market Outlook (CMO) for 2016-35.
It predicted that replacement of ageing airplanes, and growth, would create a demand for 2,370 freighter deliveries over the next 20 years to 2025. Of these, 1,440 will be conversions of passenger aircraft and the remaining 930 planes, valued at $270 billion, would be delivered as new freighters.
The corresponding figures from the previous CMO, for 2015-34, were 2,340 freighters – 1,420 conversions and 920 new freighters.
However, the smaller number of full freighters in the previous year’s report was valued somewhat higher, at $290bn, suggesting that the average cost per aircraft has declined from $315m to $290m in the space of 12 months.
The total global freighter fleet will increase by more than half, Boeing expects — from 1,770 aircraft in 2015 to 3,010 by 2035.
Boeing said in its latest CMO that total airfreight revenue tonne-kilometres – freight and bellyhold – would grow by 4.2% over the next 20 years.
While this would be lower than the 5.2% seen over the last three decades, it would represent a strong recovery from the 2% growth seen in 2015, following the slump in global trade and industrial production, which Boeing described as “a temporary situation”.
The world economy and industrial production, which are primary leading indicators of air cargo traffic, are forecast to recover and return to long-term trend growth rates in 2017, which in turn should lead to improvements in capacity balance and yields, said Boeing.
Shippers of time-sensitive and high-value commodities such as perishables, electronics, fashion and pharmaceuticals still recognised the value of air freight, while e-commerce promised “a new area of growth”.

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