2,000 more Boeing freighters in 20 years

THE Boeing freighter fleet is set to double in the next 20 years to support a projected annual air cargo traffic growth rate of 5.6 per cent during the period.

There are currently 1,760 Boeing freighters, of which 520 are large, 610 are medium and 630 are standard sizes.

Growing world trade, increasing demand for transport of perishable and time-sensitive commodities, and the need to replace ageing aircraft will create a requirement for 2,960 freighter deliveries over the next 20 years. About 1,990 of these will be conversions from passenger service, and 970 aircraft, with a list price of US$250 billion, will be delivered new.

The air cargo fleet will grow at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent nearly doubling from 1,760 aircraft in 2010 to 3,500 in 2030. “The difference in the forecast is accounted for by the freighters that are retired from the fleet. In this case 1,220 currently active freighters are expected to be retired over the 20 year period,” Bob Saling, commercial aviation services and cargo communications at Boeing, explains.

Of the 720 medium widebody freighters to be delivered during the forecast period, 280 will be new, purpose-built freighters.

In the large freighter segment, more than half of the demand will be for new aircraft. Of the 1,000 large freighter deliveries, 690 will be new aircraft.

This boom in aircraft production will doubtlessly worry environmentalists, but a green drive is on the way. Boeing will fly the new 747-8 freighter to the Paris Air Show using a renewable aviation jet fuel – the world’s first transatlantic crossing of a commercial jetliner using biologically derived fuel.

The 747-8F will run its four engines on a blend of 15 per cent camelina-based biofuel mixed with 85 per cent traditional Jet-A across the Atlantic today (20 June).

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