Boeing, the glass half full company

BOEING’S latest biennial cargo forecast once again looks at the future with rose-tinted glasses. The aircraft manufacturer predicts that global air cargo traffic will increase 5.9 per cent annually over the next 20 years, and that it will return to its 2007 peak by the end of 2010.

It fails to mention the increasingly likely slump expected in 2011.

“Economic activity – world gross domestic product – is the key driver of the air cargo market,” said Jerry Allyne, vice-president, strategic planning and analysis, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Following the recession and a year of recovery, world economic growth is forecast to average 3.2 per cent over the next two decades.”

Boeing focused on the 24 per cent growth in traffic the industry has seen for the first eight months of 2010. Observers of the world’s economies will have noted however that this year’s encouraging rebound is unlikely to be sustainable without consumer confidence and that is struggling with the Western government’s austerity measures starting to bite.

Nonetheless, in the long term, Boeing is positive, especially of the Asian markets, which it predicts will lead global traffic routes.

“Domestic Chinese and intra-Asian markets will grow 9.2 per cent and 7.9 per cent per year, respectively,” the forecast says. “Asia-related markets will grow faster than the global average.”

Boeing also believes that the world freighter fleet will increase to 2,967 aircraft from 1,755 during the 20-year period, with large freighters – such as the Boeing 747 and 777 –representing 33 per cent of the fleet, compared to 27 per cent today.

Freighter demand will be met by 743 new aircraft and 1,751 conversions at a total value of US$180 billion.

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