October 11 - Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has released its latest Cargo Global Market Forecast, highlighting how it sees the market for freighter aircraft developing over the next 20 years.
Airbus anticipates worldwide air freight traffic to grow by an average of 4.8 percent per year for the next two decades, doubling the required global freighter fleet to almost 3,000 aircraft.
By 2032, 2,700 new and converted aircraft will be required to match global air freight demand, half of which will be needed to replace older equipment that retires from the market. Of the 2,700, roughly 870 will be factory-built freighters with a list price of USD234 billion; 1,860 will be converted from passenger configurations.
Bellyhold capacity on passenger aircraft will remain largely unchanged during the next 20 years, accounting for half of commercial air freight carried internationally.
The Airbus forecast indicates that emerging economies will drive demand for air cargo capacity. The Asia Pacific region, including India and China, which currently represents 36 percent of world air freight traffic, will increase to 42 percent by 2032.
China will be the largest single nation that driving the growth of the air cargo. Today, the country represents 15 percent, and by 2032 this will rise to around 22 percent of the global air freight market. In comparison, Europe/CIS and North America accounted for 51 percent of total traffic in 2012 and although total traffic will continue to grow over the next 20 years, this share will fall to 45 percent.
The type of freighter is also likely to change to match demand. Small freighters currently account for 23 percent of the fleet today, and their share of the market will fall by 2 percent by 2032, despite rapid growth of the express freight markets in China and India.
Mid-size freighters make up 45 percent of today fleet capacity, as their flexibility makes them ideal to adapting to changing markets. The number of this kind of aircraft is likely to boom in the coming years driven by growth in the emerging markets, particularly China. Currently, 744 units are in operation worldwide and this number will grow to over 1,290 by 2032, still representing 45 percent of worldwide capacity. Airbus says it is well positioned in this sector with its A330-200F and A330 passenger conversions.
Large freighters currently represent 32 percent of the fleet today, particularly on long haul operations. By 2032, more than 1,000 will be in operation.