The size of the worldwide freighter fleet will nearly double over the next 20 years, according the to the latest Cargo Global Market Forecast published by industry giants Airbus.
Their predictions suggest that worldwide airfreight traffic will rise to around 3000 aircraft across the next 20 years, with an average growth of 4.8% each year. These figures and the projected growth is guided by positive global economic trends such as industrial production, private consumption, and general worldwide trade.
By the year 2032, the forecast suggests that a rise in global airfreight demand will require that approximately 2700 new or converted aircraft be brought into action. Over 50% of this amount will be for replacing retired aircraft, whilst the rest will be required for growth.
Airbus’ Vice President and Head of Freighters, Andreas Hermann said, “Looking forward after a difficult few years, world trade is showing improvements and diverse emerging markets will call for increased flexibility in air cargo transportation – for which midsize freighters will be the primary means to achieve this. This is why Airbus forecasts that the core of future freighter requirements will be in the midsize category, where modern-technology freighters will play a large part in future fleet replacement and long term growth.”
Of the 2,700 aircraft, 870 will be new build factory freight planes. A predicted 175 aircraft that are in service today will still be in use as service freighters in the year 2032.
One of the major factors in the predicted growth is the upturn in demand from emerging economies. China remains the single nation driving the most growth in the air cargo industry, holding 15% of the current global airfreight market. This figure is predicted to rise to 22% by 2032. The Asia-Pacific area makes up 36% of world freight traffic, expected to increase to 42% by 2032.
In comparison, the combined share of the developed nations’ (made up of Europe, Commonwealth of Independent states, and North America) accounted for just over 50 percent of global air freight traffic in 2012. Although traffic in developed nations will continue to rise, by 2032 the combined share of total world freight traffic is predicted to fall slightly to approximately 45% due to the faster rate of growth in the developing nations.