Boeing forecasts 920 new freighters by 2036

20 / 06 / 2017

Boeing has raised its forecast for new airplane demand, projecting the need for 41,030 new aircraft over the next 20 years, of which 920 will be freighters.

The US airframer's annual Current Market Outlook (CMO) for 2017-2036 was released today at the Paris Air Show, with total airplane demand rising 3.6% over last year's forecast, and is now valued at $6.1trn.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “The forecast for the widebody segment includes 9,130 airplanes, with a large wave of potential replacement demand beginning early in the next decade.

“With more airlines shifting to small and medium/large widebody airplanes like the 787 and 777X, the primary demand for very large airplanes going forward will be in the cargo market. Boeing projects the need for 920 new production widebody freighters over the forecast period.”

Boeing’s latest outlook sees a demand for 490 new “large” freighters with a capacity of more than 80 tonnes coming out of the factory hangar doors, accounting for 53% of total forecast demand until 2036.

The medium freighter sector, in the 40-80 tonne capacity range, accounts for the remaining 47% or 430 factory-built cargo aircraft.

North America will take delivery of 390 new freighters by 2036, followed by Asia-Pacific at 320, Europe with 100, the Middle East with 60 and then both the CIS and Latin America with 20 each, with Africa taking 10.

Boeing’s new report, timed for the Paris Air Show, is focused on the new aircraft sector and so does not feature forecasts for passenger to freighter conversions, although Boeing has a thriving conversion arm which has secured new orders at in Paris.

At the UK's Farnborough International Air Show 2016, Boeing predicted that replacement of ageing airplanes, and growth, would create a demand for 2,370 freighter deliveries over 20 years to 2035.

Of these, 1,440 would be conversions of passenger aircraft and the remaining 930 planes, valued at $270bn, 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. This would appear to show that Boeing's total long range new freighter forecast has varied little over three years.

In Paris, Boeing announced that it is is to convert three B767 passenger airplanes into Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) for US parcels giant UPS.

At the same time, DHL Express  signed up for four additional Airbus A330-300 passenger-to-freighter conversions from ST Aerospace subsidiary Elbe Flugzeugwerke.

Boeing's CMO has a forecast of zero demand for new freighters in the less than 45 tonne capacity bracket, which fits in with a current surge in Boeing 737 passenger to freighter conversions, with China's overnight air express operators being strong customers, a business driven by the e-commerce boom.