Boeing’s commercial airplanes division president Ray Conner is encouraged by what he sees as four per cent growth in the freighter market, despite his own company’s forecast predicting fewer cargo aircraft being sold until 2031.
The US aircraft manufacturer is expecting 800 new build freighters from 2014 to 2031, which is about 100 less than Boeing’s previous report had forecast when it was published in October 2012. The report, the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, which is published biennially, had predicted 5.2 per cent freight tonne kilometre (FTK) growth over the next 20 years. Boeing’s latest Current Market Outlook, published on 10 July, cut the FTK prediction to four per cent and reduced the freighter market.
“Although the forecast is down a little bit, we still see 800 airplanes in that forecast, so that is the equivalent of two to three airplanes per month in production,” Boeing commercial airplanes president and chief executive officer, Ray Conner (see picture), tellsAir Cargo Week (ACW) at the Farnborough International Airshow on 14 July. “I think what is encouraging is we’re starting to see that growth come back, four per cent growth, typically we’ve been at five to six. So, it’s starting to come back.”
Boeing has two full freighter products, various versions of the Boeing 747, including the Boeing 747-8 Freighter, and the Boeing 777 Freighter. The 747-8 is classed as a large widebody and the new forecast cuts the number of this class by about 100, from 700 to 600. The 777F is classed as a widebody and Boeing foresees a 20-year market for 250. What Boeing calls the standard class of aircraft, or the smaller, Boeing 737 type size, the manufacturer predicts 960, about 30 less than the 2012 forecast. Conner also tells ACW that no decision has been taken yet on if there will be a freighter version of the proposed Boeing 777-X or Boeing 787. Boeing has a study to decide if the, 777-8X or 777-9X, has a freighter version and which 787 version would become a freighter. He expects a customer is likely to determine which version of these aircraft is the freighter.