Thousands of new freighters needed over next 20 years

New research suggests that there will be increased orders for freighter aircraft over the coming 20 years on the back of demand growth and the need to retire existing aircraft.
Figures released by Air Cargo Management Group (ACMG) indicate that 2,500 new freighters will be needed over the next 20 years to cope with demand growth of around 4.5% per year.
This figure equates to around 125 freighters per year and also takes into account replacement needs as aircraft are retired.
In comparison, 95 freighters, both production units and passenger-to-freighter conversions, were added per year between 1990 and 2014.
ACMG managing director Robert Dahl said: “Some vigor returned to the airfreight market last year, and that has only continued this year.
“When looking over the long term, the outlook for freighters is healthy.”
The consultant said that, even if there was no demand growth over the next 20 years, there would still need to be around 60 freighters added per year to offset the capacity of freighters retired from the fleet.
ACMG said that global airfreight demand has experienced an unprecedented level of volatility since 2000, with three of the worst years ever in terms of airfreight traffic declines (measured in terms of freight-tonne-kilometers performed) taking place since 2000.
“As such, the jet freighter fleet peaked in size at 1,800 units in 2006-2007, but then contracted,” it said.
“The fleet total has hovered around 1,600 units since 2009. The total increased by about 50 units in 2014, to reach a level of 1,609 as we entered 2015. The baseline forecast calls for the fleet to grow to 2,887 units through 2034.”

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