Air Freight forecasts improve due to world GDP boost


The global air cargo market will grow by approximately 5.2% a year over the next 20 years, according to predictions by Boeing.

Tom Crabtree, the manufacturer’s Regional Director, Business Development & Strategic Integration, said,

“Air cargo is, and will continue to be, a vital tool for global businesses and commerce in the management of supply chains and bringing critical goods to market.”

The report reveals that growth will be driven by world GDP that will nearly double over the next 20 years, with trade expected to increase through the liberalisation of markets and more efficient aircraft and infrastructure improvements reducing the cost of air freight services.

The biennial Boeing forecast suggests that air cargo traffic will increase in the future, despite current market weakness and worldwide economic uncertainty.

Tom Crabtree went on to say,

“Current industry uncertainty has brought a disparity of viewpoint concerning the future of the air cargo business, but economic activity, particularly world gross domestic product and industrial production, remains the key driver of the air cargo market. Over the long term, indicators such as GDP growth at 3.2% and the need for greater operational efficiency will prevail in the marketplace.”

Being expects the world freighter fleet will increase to 3198 aircraft from 1738 by 2013. In addition, larger freighters, such as the B747 and 777, will represent 36% of the fleet, compared with 31% today.

Freighter demand will be met by 935 new factory-built aircraft, valued at US$250 billion, with 1820 passenger-to-freighter conversions accounting for about 66% of total demand.

Markets connecting Asia-Pacific will lead the industry in growth, with domestic China and intra-Asia traffic experiencing the highest percentage traffic growth, at 8% and 6.9% respectively, over the 20-year forecast period.

In addition, North America-Asia, Europe-South Asia, Europe-Asia, and Europe-Middle East will also be above the world average.

Fuel costs are expected to be unpredictable, but are not anticipated to move significantly higher than current levels.

Also, shippers of perishable goods and very high-value commodities will continue to find value in the speed of air cargo, according to the report.

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