Boeing’s expectations of a shift to larger aircraft, contained in its newly-released 20-year forecast, also extends to the freighter market where a greater proportion of aircraft will be in the higher-payload categories.

The company expects freighters to account for 11% of the world fleet in 2027 although the overall number of freighters will be some 90 airframes lower, around 3,890 aircraft, than forecast last year. This nevertheless represents a doubling of the current cargo fleet.

Boeing expects around 2,500 aircraft to be converted from passenger to freight configuration over the 20-year period, and foresees demand for some 860 new-build freighters.

Speaking during a briefing in London today as the forecast was disclosed, Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing vice-president Randy Tinseth said the new aircraft would be worth $206 billion.

Carriers will move towards introducing larger freighters, he says, with the fraction of those with 80t capacity and more rising from 26% today to 35% in 20 years – a higher proportion than the 33% listed in Boeing’s previous forecast.

The lower payload categories will account for fewer freighters, with 30% in the 45-80t sector and 35% in the under-45t bracket.

“A shift towards larger freighters and new, more-efficient aircraft will help keep air cargo transport affordable,” says Boeing, which assumes an annual cargo traffic rise of 5.8% in its latest forecast.

Boeing expects global demand for new aircraft the size of the 747 and above to increase by 980 new airframes by 2027, of which 370 will be freighters.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news