Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More widebody freighters soon

The Aero-News Network (ANN) reports that Boeing expects that the global air cargo market will continue its growth patterns of the past few years, with strong 20-year growth. This pattern will result in doubling of the world freighter fleet from 1,789 to 3,563 airplanes.
"Relatively stable total fleet numbers over the past five years are a bit misleading since strong deliveries have been offset by a roughly equal number of retirements," said Jim Edgar, regional director, Cargo Marketing for Asia.

"Rising fuel prices apply replacement pressure on older inefficient fleets, contributing to unprecedented freighter interest while we experience minimal negative impact upon traffic levels."

Most of these additions -- nearly 62 percent --– will be in the widebody category (medium widebody plus large freighters). Widebody freighters with a capacity of 40 tons or more will increase in share from 50 percent of the current fleet to 64 percent of the 2025 fleet. Consequently, there will be an increase in overall average freighter airplane payload. These findings are consistent with prior years' forecasts.

"The total number of airplanes in the freighter fleet forecast is only slightly higher than last year's totals," said Edgar. "However, the move to large freighters is already taking hold as the 2005 fleet is only 50 percent standard-body freighters, versus 53 percent for the same segment in 2004. The underlying trend towards accelerated widebody growth, encompassing such airplanes as the 747 freighter family and the 777 Freighter, is masked by this retirement of older standard-body freighters."

Standard-body freighters are defined in the forecast as having less than 50 tons capacity and the body width of single-aisle passenger airplanes. The share of these freighters will decrease from 50 percent to 36 percent over the next two decades. In many cases, operators such as express carriers prefer medium widebodies as a replacement for retiring standard-body freighters.

Freighters, as a share of the global jetliner fleet, will remain at about 10 percent during the forecast period, and by 2025, freighters of all sizes will provide more than half of the world's total air cargo capacity, a slight increase from today and consistent with last year'’s forecast.
According to ANN, Boeing provides more than 90% of the world's freighter capacity at the present time, and this figure is expected to remain stable.

Source: Boeing Projects Air Cargo Fleet to Shift Further Toward Widebody Freighters - Aero-News Network

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