Aircraft manufacturer Boeing made $18.2 billion in freighter sales and commitments at the Farnborough International Airshow this week.
This included 48 sales of the 777 cargo jet. By contrast, Bloomberg reported that Airbus, which has just one model of freighter versus Boeing’s three, hadn’t sold a single cargo plane.
“I think you could refer to it as unprecedented,” said Randy Tinseth, Vice President of Boeing. “It’s a testament to the strong two, two-and-a-half years in the market.”
Bloomberg notes that a decade ago, Boeing stood by air freight even as the market slumped—a decision for which the company is now reaping the rewards.
The demand for air cargo is attributed to the growth of e-commerce, particularly in China, and a shortage of cargo aircraft following the earlier slump, when carriers ditched some aircraft.
Boeing predicts that global air freight traffic is set to increase by 4.2% over the next 20 years, with an estimated $280 billion to be made in cargo aircraft purchases.
By the end of June this year, Boeing had already sold 58 767, 777 and 747-8 freighters, as well as 83 787 Dreamliner passenger planes.
Between them, Boeing and Airbus sold 34 wide-bodied passenger models, worth $11.1 billion. Airbus also made a deal with two mystery buyers, rumoured to be from Asia, for 180 narrow-bodied jets totalling $20.35 billion.