World air cargo growth will expand at a 5.8 percent annual rate over the next two decades, with worldwide air freight traffic tripling through 2027, according to Boeing’s 2008/2009 World Air Cargo Forecast. Air cargo traffic will grow over the long term despite current near-term market weakness and worldwide economic uncertainty. Asian air cargo market growth will continue to lead all global traffic routes. Domestic Chinese and intra-Asian markets will grow 9.9 percent and 8.1 percent per year, respectively. Asia-related markets will experience growth in excess of the global average.
Boeing predicts the world freighter fleet will increase to 3,890 airplanes from 1,950 during the 20-year period. Large freighters such as the Boeing 747 and 777 will represent 35 percent of the fleet, compared to 26 percent today, while providing 74 percent of total capacity. This segment will require 640 new factory-built airplanes. More than 75 percent of the 3,360 freighters joining the fleet — 2,500 airplanes — will come from passenger-to-freighter modifications, while 860 will be new production freighters.