Capacity added to the air cargo market via dedicated freighters will fall for the third consecutive calendar year in 2017, helping to keep the market strong as demand for lift continues to increase, International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures show.
Airlines are projected to add 1,978 metric tonnes (2,180 tons) of dedicated-freighter payload his year. The net capacity increase, equivalent to about 14 747-8Fs, represents the smallest calendar-year addition since 2008.
Widebody passenger airline belly capacity still dominates the market, with nearly 10,000 additional tonnes added in 2017. But total belly capacity introduced during a calendar year will fall for the first time since 2010. This is helping to boost yields, which jumped 13% in October alone, the fastest year-over-year growth pace in seven years, IATA says.
Through October, total freight-ton kilometer growth was up 9.7% on just a 3.8% rise capacity. October marked the 15th straight month of demand out-pacing capacity, a trend that has helped average widebody freighter utilization steadily increase to above 10.5 hours per day—a level last seen five years ago.
The positive figures underpin a generally upbeat outlook for freighters in the years ahead. Boeing sees demand for nearly 1,500 freighter conversions over the next 20 years, including 460 widebodies.