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Air Cargo Industry Grows

While passenger service volume continues to struggle as the global pandemic maintains its stranglehold on the airline industry, one aviation bright spot is the air cargo industry.  Express carrier traffic has grown 14 percent this year, and traffic for all-cargo carriers increased six percent. 

“Freighter operators have been in a unique position in 2020 to meet market requirements for speed, reliability and security, transporting medical supplies and other goods for people and communities around the world,” said Darren Hulst, Boeing vice president of commercial marketing. “Looking ahead, dedicated freighters will be even more critical to compete in air cargo markets; they carry more than half of air cargo traffic, and airlines operating them earn nearly 90 percent of air cargo industry revenue.”

This growth is expected to continue during the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s biennial World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF).  The report forecasts a 4 percent growth in world air cargo traffic through the year 2040.  During this period, the study says that global freight operators will need 2,430 additional aircraft – 930 new freighters and 1,500 converted passenger aircraft.  The report also notes that approximately 200 airlines worldwide have used more than 2,000 passenger wide-body aircraft for cargo-only operations in 2020.

Boeing says its forecast takes into account the “impacts and opportunities” created by the COIVD-19 pandemic along with long-term freighter demand.