PARIS AIR SHOW: Boeing, Airbus freighter forecasts are divergent

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Boeing and Airbus have quite divergent views on where demand for freighters, production and conversion aircraft, is going, with the latest market forecast from the two aircraft manufacturers.

At the 51st Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France, Boeing published its current market outlook 2015-2034, and predicts a need for 920 production freighters over that period. This is higher than the 800 it predicted at the Farnborough Air Show in July last year with a current market outlook stretching out from 2014 to 2031. That saw a reduction from the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, which was last published in 2013 and had predicted 5.2 per cent freight tonne kilometre (FTK) growth over the next 20 years. The July forecast also cut the FTK prediction to four per cent. But, this year’s outlook sees cargo traffic growing at about 4.7 per cent per year.

Airbus’ Global Market Forecast 2015-2034, published at Le Bourget, sees 1,054 more freighters, a rise in the fleet from 1,633 today to 2,687 in 20 years time, with 804 new freighter deliveries. This is a reduction from Airbus’ first publication of the Global Market Forecast in 2013 when it predicted that 871 freighters will have to be built by 2032.

Boeing sells the majority of widebody freighters, with its Boeing 777 and Airbus has its Airbus A330-200. The A330 passenger aircraft has new variants, but Airbus has no such plans for the freighter version.