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Boeing: China, e-commerce driving air cargo growth
Boeing predicts 4.2% annual air cargo growth. © Air France

Boeing: China, e-commerce driving air cargo growth

Boeing projects demand for 2,650 freighters over the next two decades to handle 4.2% annual growth in air cargo traffic

Boeing projects air cargo operators will need more than 2,600 freighters over the next two decades to keep up with increasing global freight traffic, which is expected to double, with 4.2% growth annually.

The 980 new medium and large freighters and 1,670 converted freighters will go toward replacing older airplanes and growing the global fleet to meet demand, according to the company’s new World Air Cargo Forecast.

Some of the factors driving the growth in air cargo include a growing express market in China and the global rise of e-commerce, which is forecast to increase 20% annually to nearly $5 trillion in 2021 according to Boeing's analysis.

The report predicts that:

  • the world freighter fleet will expand by more than 70%, from the current total of 1,870 to 3,260 airplanes;
  • the forecast period will see new production freighter deliveries valued at $280bn;
  • demand for regional express services in fast-developing economies will boost the standard-body share of the freighter fleet from 37% today to 39%;
  • 1,170 standard body and 500 medium wide-body passenger airplanes will be converted into freighters over the next two decades;
  • dedicated freighters will continue to carry more than 50% of the world's air cargo demand. The majority will be in the large widebody freighter category.

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