Boeing predicts soaring need for more freighters as trade recovers
Boeing predicts that in the next two decades, 60% of the global air cargo fleet north will increase. Because traffic will double by 2040. The repercussions of Covid-19 have dramatically increased the need for freighters, pointed out Darren Hulst, vice-president commercial marketing. As belly capacity has dwindled, about 90 freighters have been added to the global aircraft fleet since January.
Also, cargo activities are about 120% of the normal level. These figures show the shortage of lift created by the loss of bellies. Freight orders have also been very high. They recorded 29 for 767s, 24 for 737-800s and five for 777s. “We see the drag in belly lift in place for a few more years,” he said. According to Mr. Hulst, in the absence of sufficient narrowbody lift, a role will be played for passenger aircraft. It will be flying cargo missions in the near future.
This year, about 200 airlines have used more than 2,000 wide body passenger plane for cargo missions. However, passenger capacity is slowly improving. But Boeing analysts predict a rapid recovery in GDP, trade and industrial production next year. They predict that by the end of 2021 the air cargo volumes will back at 2019 levels. They predict industrial production to grow at 2.3% a year and trade growth to average 2.8%. Cargo traffic is expected to increase at a rate of 4% a year over the period. According to Boeing, e-commerce will be the biggest driver of this move.
Mr Hulst pointed out that this year China’s Cainiao had performed more than 700 charter flights for deliveries outside its domestic market alone. This will be one key trend in the coming decades, he said.
This year, express carrier traffic increased by 14%. Other drivers of air freight growth, on the other hand, will be pharmaceuticals and perishables that require rapid transport. In addition, traditional airfreight staples like auto parts and electronics will need lift.
According to Boeing analysts, Asia will account for an increasing share of global airfreight volumes and lift. They see strong growth in the lanes from East Asia to North America (rising 4.3% a year) and to Europe (4.4%). The only sectors that are projected to grow faster than these are intra-Asia (4.9%) and China’s domestic market (5.8%).
But this growth requires a significant injection of capacity. Boeing predicts that 2,430 deliveries of jet freighters within the next 20 years. Nearly half of these – 1,080 – will be narrowbody freighters, all converted passenger aircraft.
In terms of bandwidth, Boeing predicts that 420 converted planes and 480 new production freighters will join the global fleet. It also expects to have 450 new widebody cargo aircraft with payloads of 80 tons or more.
A large chunk of this new capacity will replace older models, particularly in the large widebody segment.
“Half of the large freighter fleet is not new-generation technology. We continue to see demand for replacement of these,” Mr Hulst said.