MIAMI — Boeing claims that Air Cargo is to double over the next 20 years, at a rate of approximately 4.2% per annum. The American airplane manufacturer unveiled its projections at the International Air Cargo Association.

Boeing projects that the current fleet of 1,670 freighters globally will increase to 3,260 in the next two decades, increasing the demand for 980 new medium and large freighters, as well as 1,670 converted freighters.

The passenger-to-freighter conversion projections include 1,170 narrow-body and 500 wide-body planes. All these aircraft are projected to have a value of US $280 billio.

Dedicated freighters are the best way to carry Air Cargo, as they offer a capability that passenger aircraft cannot. Freighters will carry the majority of Air Cargo around the world, meaning there is still plenty of demand for new Boeing 747-8 and 777 freighters, according to Boeing.

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There are a few factors that will contribute to this growth such as the growing market in China and the rise of e-commerce.

Boeing forecasts the increase from these to be 20% per annum. This also includes smaller regional freighter routes that are seeing year-over-year growth.

If the current increase rates continue, the demand for bigger freighters a few years down the line could occur.

Darren Hulst, Managing Director of Market Analysis and Sales at Boeing explained that the air cargo market “continues to be a major element of commercial aviation’s growth story.”

“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,” he said.

Hulst added that with a 90% share of the freighter market, Boeing is well positioned to capture this growth.

“We have invested in our freighter family to help express cargo and general freight operators carry out their missions around the world,” Hulst said.

“Whether it’s our 777 Freighter or our 737-800BCF program, Boeing offers the most capable family of freighters with the best combination of payload, range and fuel efficiency.”

The Boeing 737-800BCF

This projection just shows that the aviation industry is expanding at staggering rates.

The industry is already suffering infrastructure and pilot shortages globally. It will be interesting to see if this all improves, in order for the industry, to get to better grips with the projected growth.