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Freighter Fleet To Almost Double By 2032

Global air freight traffic is set to grow by an average of 4.8 per cent annually over the next 20 years, almost doubling the required freighter fleet to nearly 3,000 aircraft.

This is according to Airbus’ new ‘Cargo Global Market Forecast’, with the company saying that a number of global trends in economic activity will drive the growth. These include world trade, private consumption, and industrial production.

“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 mid-size freighters will be the primary means to achieve this,” stated Andreas Hermann, Airbus VP, head of freighters. “This is why Airbus forecasts that the core of future freighter requirements will be in the mid-size category, where modern-technology freighters will play a large part in future fleet replacement and long term growth.”

It is no surprise that emerging countries will outpace the growth of developed countries in the forecast period. According to Airbus, Asia-Pacific (including India and the PRC) currently accounts for 36 per cent of the world freight traffic, but this will increase to 42 per cent by 2032. And China remains the single largest nation driving air cargo growth – its share will rise from 15 per cent today to around 22 per cent by 2032.

Also significant is that of the 2,700 new and converted aircraft required, Airbus predicts 870 will be factory-built freighters worth approximately $234bn, while around 1,860 will be converted from passenger aircraft. A further 175 of those around in 2032 will be aircraft which are already in service as freighters today.

Meanwhile, belly freight usage in passenger aircraft will remain largely unchanged, at around half of commercial air freight on international traffic.

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