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All-Cargo Fleet Growth Remains Impressive
The Boeing Commercial Airplane Group issues its World Air Cargo Forecast every two years. Included is a forecast of the market for freighters over the next 20 years. In a preview for Air Cargo World readers, here is an excerpt with Boeing's forecast for the world's freighter fleet for the 1999-2019 period:
Although dedicated cargo aircraft represent less than 13 percent of the world's jet fleet, the freighter fleet continues to grow at an impressive pace, reflecting the integral role air cargo plays in world economic growth. Since publication of the last Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast two years ago, the fleet has increased more than 8 percent annually, despite the widely reported regional financial challenges during that period. Beginning in 1970, when pure jet freighters numbered fewer than 100, the fleet has more than doubled every 10 years to nearly 1,700 airplanes as we move into the 21st century.
Introduction of widebody freighter service in the 1970s, with the 747 and DC-10, increased both the efficiency and productivity of air freight operations. An expanded selection of new-production freighter models, plus the conversion of existing passenger models to freighters, has dramatically increased the number of types and sizes of jet airplanes available for the cargo mission.
Significant Fleet Trends
In addition to the more commonly understood factors affecting air cargo growth, a number of industry forces and trends further influence the type and number of freighters needed to satisfy traffic demand. These include:
* Passenger carrier recognition of revenue cargo potential, which stimulates creation of new freighter services (e.g., ACMI, …