Freight capacity (available tonne kilometres or ATKs) is forecast to grow annually at 3.0% and traffic (FTKs) at 3.7%, relative to 2019, by the end of 2014, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.
The forecast predicts the supply of some 3,560 freighter aircraft over the next 20 years, including 1,060 new builds (30%) worth US$130 billion, and 2,480 conversions of passenger aircraft (70%).
“Conversion demand is being driven by the rise of e-commerce which gained momentum during lockdowns as well as increasing volumes of feedstock in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis,” the firm said. “The focus is increasingly on newer generation conversion programmes, including the A321ceo, 737-800, A330ceo and 777-300ER.”
Cirium expects the world’s freighter fleet to grow at 2.3% per year over the next 20 years. It predicts the world’s freighter fleet will reach over 4,100 aircraft by 2041 on the back of a 3.7% per year increase in cargo demand.
This is a similar volume and profile to that predicted in the company’s previous forecast, reflecting the continued near-term boom in conversions triggered by the air-cargo market dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic, including a short-term drop in passenger belly capacity, e-commerce growth and rising feedstock availability.
Although the current conversion boom may not persist, it is enabling the replacement of older, less efficient aircraft.
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