ANALYSIS: Asia’s parked freighters have almost doubled since 2008

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The last five years has seen the number of dedicated freighters placed in storage by Asian operators nearly double.

Analysis of data from Flightglobal's Ascend Online database highlights the excess capacity plaguing the air cargo industry.

In July 2008, before the last economic crisis, Asian operators had just 17 dedicated freighters in storage. The average age of stored aircraft was 32.3 years and the aircraft had been in storage for roughly nine months.

The oldest stored freighter was a Boeing 707-300 built in 1966 and operated by Fab Airlines. The most modern was a Boeing MD-11 built in 1992 and operated by Transmile Air.

Notably, only a single Boeing 747 Freighter (a 747-300SF operated by Dragonair) was in storage in July 2008.

Flightglobal Ascend Online data indicates that as of July 2013, Asian operators have stored 33 freighters - almost double the figure in 2008. The average age of stored aircraft fell one third to 24.8 years, while the average storage period doubled to 18 months.

The oldest stored freighter is a 1969 vintage Boeing 727-100 operated by Tri MG Airlines.

Tellingly, Asian operators now have 14 747 freighters in storage. Five of these are 747-400Fs, four of which were delivered in 2000 or later. The newest of these stored freighters is a 2008 vintage 747-400ERF operated by now defunct Chinese carrier Jade Cargo.

In a recent interview with Flightglobal Pro, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines director general Andrew Herdman painted a gloomy picture for the dedicated freighter market.

"The cargo side of course is grim," he said. "The market has been stagnant for the last two and a half years, and FTK volumes are where they were before the global recession.

"The situation now is that we have a massive surplus capacity in dedicated freighters. You've got a stagnant cargo market, belly space absorbing a steadily increasing share of that fixed market and so very little demand for additional freighter capacity."