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1 Development Trend of Freight Aircraft in the Next 20 Years
Rolls Royce, UK, forecasts the development of cargo aircraft in its 1998-2017 Market Outlook report. According to the report, the annual growth rate of passenger transport was 5.1% during 1998-2017, while the increase of freight turnover would exceed that of passenger transport, with an average annual growth rate of 6.5%. In the meantime, 16,900 planes will be delivered globally, including 680 newly built cargo planes.
Air cargo continues to grow faster than passenger transport, partly because of the globalization of spare parts supply, the efforts of various industrial sectors to reduce inventory time, and the shortening of shelf life due to the rapid replacement of products. In addition, through reliable and fast door-to-door delivery, especially to increase investment in the express package market, the air cargo industry itself also stimulates the rapid increase in freight turnover. The decline in air freight costs has shifted cargo owners'interest from surface to air transport. Large freight companies are investing in new, high-capacity cargo planes to increase cargo capacity in the long-distance market. The freight market is taking a different approach from the passenger service market, using technical means to meet its special needs for separate management. It can be predicted that the share of cargo carried out by special cargo aircraft will increase significantly in the next 20 years compared with the share of cargo carried out by lower cargo holds or dual-purpose passenger and cargo aircraft using passenger aircraft.
2. The trend of large-scale cargo aircraft is obvious.
Since the end of 1995, the proportion of large cargo aircraft has increased from 18% to 20%, and this trend will continue. In view of cost pressures and the rapid growth of long-distance freight services, large aircraft must be used. It is expected that by 2017, large cargo aircraft will account for 33% of all cargo aircraft.
The average size of cargo aircraft will also increase, as the freight market does not need to increase as frequently as the passenger market. For example, there is usually only one flight connected to the night package express service at the user hub airport. Therefore, turnover growth is mainly met by the use of increased aircraft.
Over the next 20 years, the number of cargo planes worldwide will increase by 1.18 times from 1,334 in 1997 to 2,910 in 2017. Over the next 20 years, the total number of newly manufactured cargo aircraft will be about 680, most of which will continue to be modified from passenger aircraft or dual-purpose passenger and cargo aircraft, and the total number of modified aircraft is expected to reach 2200. This is an important market for second-hand wide-body airliners, accounting for about 45% of the used wide-body airliners.
3 Boeing's Forecast of Freight Market
Boeing predicts that in the next 20 years, world air cargo will grow at an average annual growth rate of 6.2%, and total transport volume will triple.
Boeing's world air cargo forecast is widely regarded as an authoritative industry forecast for the growth of global air cargo transport volume and cargo aircraft demand.
Marlin Dailey, Boeing Civil Aircraft Group's vice president for sales in Europe and Central Asia, said: "After the challenges of the past few years, the vitality of the air cargo market is exciting. The growth rate of air cargo market in 2003 was 4%, and this year's market continued to maintain a strong growth momentum. Global air transport volume increased by 10.7% compared with the same period in 2003.
Overall, Boeing expects the world fleet of cargo aircraft to increase from 1766 to 3456 in the next 20 years, with the largest increase being wide-body cargo aircraft such as Boeing 747, 767, MD-11 and Airbus A300. Wide-body cargo aircraft account for 44% of the global cargo fleet. In 20 years'time, the proportion of such cargo aircraft will increase to 60% of the global cargo fleet, and its capacity will eventually account for more than 90% of the total global cargo aircraft capacity.
According to the forecast, 2950 cargo planes will join the global cargo fleet, of which 1260 will replace retired aircraft, and 1590 will be used to meet the demand of market growth. Of the 2 950 cargo planes, more than 75% will be cargo planes, i.e. 2226, which will be modified for passenger/cargo dual-purpose aircraft, while 724 will be newly produced cargo planes.
Boeing expects that the Asian air cargo market will continue to lead the world air cargo industry, with China's domestic and Asian internal markets growing at an average annual growth rate of 10.6% and 8.5%, respectively.
Compared with the world average annual growth rate of 6.2%, the average growth rate of North America-Asia market will reach 7.2%, while that of Europe-Asia market will reach 6.7%. Some more mature markets, such as those in North America and Europe, have relatively low growth rates based on higher flight frequencies.
Tom Crabtree, the lead author of the forecast and regional director of marketing for Boeing Civil Aircraft Group, said: "This year is the best year for world air cargo volume growth since 1997. Almost all international trade routes have shown strong growth momentum. Compared with 2003, the highest growth rates in the trans-Pacific and Eurasian markets were 17% and 13% respectively from the beginning of the year to the present. This significant rebound further confirms our prediction that the world air cargo industry will maintain long-term strong growth. He added that Boeing will continue to dominate the global cargo fleet. Boeing not only produces a unique full range of cargo aircraft products, but also has more than 70% of the current global fleet of aircraft.