Boeing forecast

THE Boeing Company projects that the global air cargo market will continue to exhibit strong, long-term growth, according to the company’s Current Market Outlook 2008. During the 20-year forecast period, Boeing projects that the industry will grow at an annualised average of 5.8 per cent, with the world freighter fleet increasing from 1,948 to 3,892 airplanes.

This growth requires a total of 3,358 airplanes joining the freighter fleet by 2027, taking into account anticipated airplane retirements of 1,414 airplanes, according to the annual outlook, which was released prior to the 2008 Farnborough Air Show.

The fleet additions will include 863 new production freighters, with a value of about US$206 billion and 2,495 airplanes from conversions. Widebody freighters will dominate the new production freighter total and 641 will be of the large freighter segment (more than 80 tons (72.6 tonnes) capacity). Demand for new production equipment, is driven by operational efficiency and reliability, as well as environmental and regulatory pressures, including noise, emissions and ageing.

“The forecast is based on a number of factors, most significantly economic growth in diverse areas of the world,” said Jim Edgar, regional director cargo marketing for Asia. “Over the long-term, global economic growth will drive demand for new, high-value products, as well as seasonal perishables that people have become accustomed to enjoying.”

More than 60 per cent of the fleet additions will be in the widebody category (medium widebody) – with payloads of 40 to 80 tons (36.3 to 72.6 tonnes) – plus large freighters, increasing their share from 61 per cent of the current fleet to 65 per cent of the 2027 fleet. Consequently, there will be an increase in overall average freighter airplane payload, consistent with prior year’s forecasts.

“We expect several trends to continue – dedicated freighters will continue to provide an increasing proportion of air cargo capacity, going to nearly 54 per cent; and the industry will continue to move to larger airplanes. Additionally, freighters will continue to comprise about 10 per cent of the world jetliner fleet during the forecast period.”

The share of standard-body freighters (defined as less than 45 tons (40.8 tonnes) capacity single-aisle body width), will decrease from 39 per cent to 35 per cent over the next two decades.

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