Despite current economic conditions, in its updated industry forecast, Boeing Co. sees the world’s air cargo growth expanding at a 5.8% rate annually to 2027, with the Asian market to lead all global traffic routes. The biennial World Air Cargo Forecast is regarded as being greatly authoritative.
"World GDP is projected to average just higher than 3% during the next 20 years. Asian production fundamentals—including abundant raw materials and low-cost labor—remain solid, and China will remain a source of strong economic growth with substantial industrialization and related investment," says Randy Tinseth, vice president, Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing expects that not only will Asian needs to move air cargo require the most new airplanes, the value of those deliveries will also be the world’s highest. At the same time, and for the first time, the value of Europe’s airplane market will be equal to that of North America.
Projected growth in Southwest Asia is already having an influence in investments in airplanes and infrastructure for what Boeing calls, “one-stop-to-anywhere” airlines in the Middle East. Hope is held out for the currently suffering US domestic air freight market that the manufacturer expects to return to “strong growth in time.” Although the European market has been growing at a rapid pace, Boeing expects that to moderate a bit over time.
Specifically in Asia, "China will continue to be the fastest-growing aviation center in the world,” continues Tinseth, “requiring 41% of the entire Asia-Pacific region airplane demand. This makes China the largest market outside of the US for new commercial airplanes."
Boeing forecasts a tripling of China’s air fleet to 2027, to a total of 4,560 airplanes. The 370 freighter airplanes to be added by China will result in a 400% boost in the country’s total freighter fleet.
Looking at the entire world freighter fleet, the company expects that larger airplanes will represent 35% of fleets, compared with 26% today. These freighters will provide 74% of total cargo capacity. This growth translates into a need for 640 new factory-built aircraft. Boeing says that 75% of the planes to join the world’s freighter fleet will be modifications of passenger aircraft to freighter, with the balance coming from new production.