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Boeing forecasts Air Cargo traffic will double in 20 years

777F with cargo load © Boeing

projects air operators will need more than 2,600 freighters over the next two decades to keep up with increasing global freight traffic, which is expected to double with 4.2% growth annually.

The 980 new medium and large freighters and 1,670 converted freighters will go toward replacing older airplanes and growing the global fleet to meet demand, according to the new World Forecast, released by Boeing on October 17, at The International Air Cargo Association's Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition.

“The air cargo market continues to be a major element of 's growth story,” said Darren Hulst, managing director of Market Analysis & Sales Support at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our new forecast indicates strong long-term air cargo trends, which coincide with the market recovery that we have seen over the last few years across Europe, North America, and Asia.”

Some of the factors driving the growth in air cargo include a growing express market in and the global rise of e-commerce, which is forecast to increase 20% annually to nearly US$5 trillion in 2021 according to Boeing's analysis.

To meet growing market needs, Boeing also forecasts that the world freighter fleet will expand by more than 70%, from the current total of 1,870 to 3,260 airplanes. Boeing projects new production freighter deliveries valued at US$280 billion. Demand for regional express services in fast-developing economies will boost the standard-body share of the freighter fleet from 37% today to 39%. 1,170 standard body and 500 medium wide-body passenger airplanes will be converted into freighters over the next two decades. Dedicated freighters, which provide unique capability that passenger belly-cargo cannot match, will continue to carry more than 50% of the world's air cargo demand. The majority will be in the large widebody freighter category, such as the 747-8 Freighter and 777 Freighters.

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