Air cargo traffic will double by 2041, with the world’s freighter fleet expanding by more than 60 per cent.
That’s according to Boeing’s 2022 World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF), a biennial analysis of evolving industry dynamics.
The 2022 WACF projects that the world’s cargo fleet will require nearly 2,800 production and converted freighters for growth and replacement through 2041.
With cargo traffic doubling over the forecast period, operators will need to switch to “more capable, fuel efficient and sustainable jets like the 777-8 Freighter” to meet demand, Boeing said in its forecast.
A third of deliveries will consist of new production freighters, while the remaining two-thirds will be freighter conversions, the manufacturer added.
“While the air cargo market is returning to a more normal pace after historic demand in the last two years, structural factors including express network growth, evolving supply chain strategies and new cargo-market entrants are driving sustained freighter demand,” said Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing Darren Hulst.
“In the global transportation network, air freighters will continue to be a critical enabler to move high-value goods, in increased volume across expanding markets.”
According to the 2022 WACF, the Asia Pacific region will take delivery of nearly 40 per cent of all freighters, including new and converted freighters, in the forecast period.
Another insight from the 2022 WACF is that while dedicated freighters are eight per cent of the total commercial airplane fleet, they continue to carry more than half of all air cargo, with passenger airplanes carrying the remainder as belly cargo.
Boeing also noted that the global freighter fleet will grow by more than 1,300 airplanes to more than 3,600 jets over the next two decades.