Global air cargo traffic will expand at an annual rate of 5.9 percent over the next two decades, according to Boeing's World Air Cargo Forecast for 2010/2011. Consequently, Boeing expects worldwide airfreight traffic to triple through 2029.
Boeing released the biennial forecast at the International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition in Amsterdam.
Boeing research indicates the world freighter fleet will increase to 2,967 airplanes, from the current 1,755, during the 20-year period. Large freighters will account for 33 percent of the fleet, compared with 27 percent today, according to the company.
However, conversions will account for about 70 percent of total demand, according to the report. Boeing projects a 20-year output of 743 new factory-built cargo airplanes and 1,751 conversions from passenger and passenger-freighter combination airplanes, worth a total of some $180bn in current U.S. dollars.
Air cargo traffic began to rebound strongly 12 months ago and continued its recovery through the first eight months of this year. As a result, Boeing expects world air cargo traffic to return to its 2007 peak by the end of this year.
"Economic activity - world gross domestic product - is the key driver of the air cargo market," said Jerry Allyne, vice president of strategic planning and analysis for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Following the recession and a year of recovery, world economic growth is forecast to average 3.2 percent over the next two decades."
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