According to Boeing’s Biennial Cargo Traffic Forecast (WACF) report, there will be significant demand for cargo aircraft over the next two decades. The WACF forecasts demand for 2,430 freighters over the next 20 years, due to the recovery in world trade and long-term growth. Freight demand will consist of 930 new freighters and another 1,500 freighters converted from passenger aircraft.
According to the new forecasts, air freight traffic will grow by 4% per year over the next 20 years. This growth will be motivated by business activity and the increase in urgent shipments to fuel the growth of electronic commerce. Given these trends and the real need for cargo-specific aircraft to support the global freight transport system, the global cargo fleet is projected to grow by more than 60% by 2039.
“Freight carriers were uniquely positioned in 2020 to meet market demands for speed, reliability and safety in transporting medical supplies and other goods for people and communities around the world,” said Darren. Hulst, vice president of commercial marketing. “Going forward, dedicated cargo aircraft will become even more important to competing in the cargo markets. They carry more than half of the cargo that is carried by air and the airlines that operate them make up almost everything.” 90% of the revenue of the air freight sector “.
In addition to forecasting long-term freight demand, the WACF report provides detailed information on air freight performance during the pandemic, including:
E-commerce, which grew by more than 10% before the pandemic and whose impact on the air freight market was accelerated by online business sales. In the first nine months of the year, express courier companies increased traffic by 14%.
The transportation of goods in the holds of passenger aircraft, which accounted for around half of the world’s air cargo capacity in 2019, has been significantly reduced as the number of commercial flights has been drastically reduced. Freight operators responded by operating above normal, and traffic from air-only companies rose 6%.
So far in 2020, around 200 airlines have deployed more than 2,000 wide-body aircraft just to move goods, generate cash flow and support supply chains around the world. These “makeshift” freighters have taken over some of the capacity deficit and in some cases enabled airlines to make quarterly profits despite the reduced number of commercial flights.
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