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Boeing has forecast a need for more than 2,600 freighters over the next 20 years in order to meet demand. The company said it expects global freight traffic to grow 4.2% annually.

Boeing made the forecast on 16th October at the Air Cargo Association’s Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition. It split its predicted total into 980 new medium and large freighters and 1,670 passenger planes (1,170 standard body, 500 medium wide-body) converted into freighters to replace old aircraft.

In addition, Boeing predicted a global freighter expansion of more than 70%, from the current total of 1,870 to 3,260, and a production value of $280 billion for new freighters. Dedicated freighters will still carry more than 50% of the world’s air cargo because of their greater capacity in relation to passenger aircraft, the company said.

Boeing predicts air cargo traffic will double over next two decades

“The air cargo market continues to be a major element of commercial aviation’s growth story,” said Darren Hulst, the managing director of Market Analysis & Sales Support at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our new forecast indicates strong long-term air cargo trends, which coincide with the market recovery that we have seen over the last few years across Europe, North America, and Asia.”

China, in particular, is expected to make a big impact with its growing express market, while global e-commerce is predicted to increase 20% annually, hitting almost $5 trillion in 2021.

At the Farnborough International Airshow earlier this year, Boeing boasted an "unprecedented" $18.2 billion in freighter sales.

Source: Boeing

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