Looking at recent data, Boeing notes that after the collapse of the world air cargo market in 2001 (-5.8%), traffic increased 7% in 2002 and almost 4% in 2003, despite events related to SARS and a Middle East conflict. Now, in five-month figures for 2004, the world air cargo market is up 10.7%, year-over-year.
While some markets, such as North America, North America-Latin America and Asia-North America are expected to grow at relatively slow and low rates; Asian markets are expected to experience healthy expansion. Projections are for Europe-Asia, Intra-Asia and Domestic China to continue the growth they experienced in 2003.
Boeing is concerned with airplanes and airplane sizes. It notes that although the size of the worldwide freighter fleet has remained about the same since 2001, there has been a trend to replacement of smaller freighters with larger through 2003. This has meant a 4% increase in cargo capacity for the fleet.
As airfreight traffic continues its growth, Boeing expects medium widebody and large cargo aircraft to be the main source of worldwide additions to the freight fleet, growing from their present 44% to 60%.