The financial turmoil of Asia-Pacific is not reflected in any downturn in air cargo forecasts.

The market remains stable, Boeing's James Edgar, regional director, cargo marketing, said at the show yesterday. The broader picture shows world air cargo traffic tripling over the next 20 years.

"In fact, the (Asia-Pacific) market is growing," he says. "Everyone is talking about it so we wanted to step back and take a look at the figures.

"The bad news is that countries like Indonesia and Thailand are affected [by the crisis] but the good news is that in terms of air cargo, the fundamentals are very, very strong."

In a global air cargo market worth $40 billion, cargo movements in, out and through the region are holding up. Revealing preliminary Boeing figures for 1997 on the world market which grew at 10% last year, Asia-Pacific maintained or exceeded its position.

Intra-Asia air cargo increased by 9% (8.7% in 1996), North America-Asia trade was up 12% (12.3% in 1996) and Europe-Asia trade was 11% up (7.9% in 1996).

Edgar suggests that while passenger numbers in the region have fallen sharply, cargo is holding up because outflows of cargo are rising on the back of heavily devalued currencies.

Globalisation and the long-term nature of cargo contracts may also influence trends.

The data is contained in Boeing's Freighter Fleet Forecast which predicts that air cargo will triple in the next 20 years, growing by some 6.6% a year.

The report says that the world's airlines will need more than 1,200 cargo aircraft to meet demand. Specifically, Boeing believes that demand will centre mostly on the largest size aircraft.

Source: Flight Daily News