Airbus: Freighter fleet to grow 50% by 2038

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Airbus is predicting that the global freighter aircraft fleet will grow over 50% in the next 20 years, the manufacturer forecasts in its Global Market Forecast 2019-2038.

In its report, Airbus says international trade is expected to grow 3.3% per annum over the next 20 years, doubling from today’s level of $45 trillion, with Asia Pacific becoming the largest region, with its share growing from 36% to 43%.

Airbus forecasts that air cargo will grow 3.6% per annum to 2038, meaning it will have doubled. Belly cargo will grow at a faster rate than main deck freight, at 4.3% compared to 2.8% per annum.

As a result of the growth, Airbus says the dedicated freighter fleet will grow over 50% from 1,800 today to 2,800. North America will have the largest fleet with 40%, and Asia Pacific will have almost 30%, up from 20% today.

A combination of 2,500 new build and converted freighters will be needed with 60% for replacements and 40% for growth. Of these, 850 are expected to be new builds. About 500 are forecast to be mid-sized freighters with 40-80 tonne payloads, and 360 will have payloads above 80 tonnes.

Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer of Airbus and head of Airbus International says: “People and goods want to connect. Globally, commercial aviation stimulates GDP growth and supports 65 million livelihoods, demonstrating the immense benefits our business brings to all societies and global trade.”