Boeing Sees Air Freight Traffic Bouncing Back

 - October 8, 2014, 1:35 PM
Boeing predicts that some 840 new freighters, like this 747-400 for Air China, will be delivered in the next 20 years. [Photo: Boeing]

Air cargo traffic is set to bounce back after enduring a lean period in recent years. This was the main conclusion of Boeing’s latest biennial World Air Cargo Forecast, published at the October 7 International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea. The airframer predicts that air freight traffic will increase at an annual rate of 4.7 percent over the next 20 years, and is expected to double in volume by 2033.

“We see strong signs of a recovery as air freight traffic levels continue to strengthen after several years of stagnation,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing vice president Randy Tinseth. “The air cargo market is now growing at nearly the long-term rates.”

According to Boeing’s analysts, global air cargo traffic started to increase again in the second quarter of 2013, with increases amounting to 4.4 percent in the first seven months of 2014, compared with the same period last year. They project that if this rate of growth continues for the remainder of this year, 2014 will be the best year for the sector since 2010.

The latest Boeing forecast predicts that air freight traffic between Asia and North America and between Asia and Europe will continue to be the busiest in the world. The fastest growth rates are expected to happen on intra-Asia routes, within China and on Asia-North America routes.

Driven by rising demand, Boeing predicts that the world freight airliner fleet will increase with 840 new deliveries (both new-build aircraft and passenger-to-freight conversions) over the next 20 years. More than 52 percent of these deliveries will replace retiring aircraft.