Future of freight

KUALA LUMPUR – In Malaysia at the moment, attending the 24th International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition, where we’ve just released Boeing’s World Air Cargo Forecast for 2008/2009. I think you’ll find it of interest in light of the current economic environment.

Essentially, we’re seeing that air cargo traffic will continue to grow over the long term. Even though we’re experiencing near-term market weakness and worldwide economic uncertainty, the forecast is that world air cargo traffic will grow at a 5.8% annual rate over the next 20 years. Worldwide air freight traffic will triple.


Speaking of freight, today Air China Cargo ordered three 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighters.

As I mentioned at the cargo forum here, we think that economic growth, freighter fleet renewal and moderating jet fuel prices will stimulate air cargo traffic over the long term. It’s always important to note that cargo is a driver of economic growth.

For a lot of interesting data, you can download and view the full World Air Cargo Forecast 2008/2009 (PDF).

Comments (6)

Chris C (South Africa):

Boeing's World Air Cargo Forecast pdf is very interesting indeed. Also interesting was the photo's of the ultra-large, high-value freight being loaded into the 747-400Fs!

Boeing is positioned well to neatly corner the need for freighter aircraft, with offering the world’s most complete, advanced, capable and fuel-efficient freighter aircraft.

Clearly, the highly-efficient 747-8 Freighter will continue to enjoy huge success in the freighter market. With 78 firm orders to date from the world’s leading air-freight airlines, the -8F should secure in the region of 260 orders, if not more, over the next 20-years.

With the 467-seat 747-8I also being the same length as the -8F, at 76,3m, the -8I will hold its residual value longer as it will be an attractive airplane to become a “-8BCF” after it’s completed a success life as a passenger airplane. The 747-8I and -8F are phenomenal airplanes, period. All the best in the on-going sales campaigns for the new 747s!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

I have to agree.

And Boeing Freighters are the kind that say: 'Yes We Can!'

Especially the 747. It is not the biggest. But it is the best.

See for yourself.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The 747 freighter is the best air freighter in the market as the 747 is the only airliner that was designed from it's inception to be a cargo plane. It was thought from it's days it was designed that all long distance travel would be done on supersonic airliners like the Concorde and the Boeing 2707, so the 747 was designed as a cargo plane and only a passenger plane for a short time, so by the the way the 747 was designed, it serves both roles as a passenger and cargo plane exceptionally well and maintains a unique design shared by no other plane in the world.

Even though the 747's prospects as a passenger plane does not look so good in the long distance future for now, the 747 as a cargo plane has an almost unlimited future as their will always be a need for a large parcel cargo plane that loads from the front, but don't write off the passenger 747 just yet.

Chris C (South Africa):

Atlas Air has recently made some very insightful and interesting comments regarding both the 747-400F and the highly-efficient 747-8F, and have also touched on the -400BCF. These comments were made during their Q3 earnings call:

“The benchmark 747-400 freighter provides the lowest unit operating cost of any freighter in the market, a position that is only strengthened by the current market environment. We are the only outsource scale provider for 747-400 freighters and demand for scarce aircraft has been strong. Most important of these is the launch of our 747-8 freighter service. We will benefit from the enhanced payload and improved fuel efficiency that these aircraft will provide to our customers, and we will benefit from the scarcity value and our first-to-market ACMI capability,” said Atlas Air.

“As far as the -8F goes, the stair step function at the -8F provides an improvement in terms of unit cost per kilo to move a product from A to B, fuel efficiency, etc we believe position it and continue to position it as a superior aircraft in global wide-body inter continental airfreight and the 400 will still retain superior value even with the introductions of dash 8’s,” commented Bill Flynn of Atlas Air.

“I think going forward there is accelerated retirement of older 747-200 and MD-11s; there is going to be continuous scarcity value for the 747 freighter to have been the numbers of 747 passenger to freighters aircraft conversion that were anticipated even just two years ago and as that aircraft continued to age, particularly remaining in service as a result of delays on that A380s and to some extent even delays on the 787; that aircraft age and become less suitable for PDF conversion and then with only 80 or so Dash 8’s currently on order in the freighter configuration we think that the underlying scarcity value, remain for these assets the 400 and the Dash 8’s and we feel very good about them,” noted Atlas Air further.

No doubt we're going to see the next generation, advanced and efficient 747-8 family moving from strength to strength. It's an incredibly good airplane, period.

Frederic Horst (Brussels, Belgium):

Am glad the eagerly awaited WACF is finally out. Excellent and solid analysis as usual! The side by side comparison of air vs maritime growth, as well as operating costs for container ships and freighters is a particularly interesting addition to the biannual document. There is much qualitative discussion on the air vs sea topic and I am happy that Boeing has taken the effort to put some numbers to the topic.

Tom Gilbraith (Lynnwood, WA):

I read the article on 11/05/2008 Dow Jones International News Author: Costas Paris

Dealing with Boeing Earmarking $1 Billion to help customers financing who are affected by the credit crunch.

In relation to freighter, & all models, labor relations is a big deal

The article quoted Randy Tinseth as noting:

"unlike previous schedule slippages, delays arising from the strike would probably not result in Boeing having to pay compensation to customers."

"There is a provision in most of our contracts that makes a delay due to a strike an excusable delay so we won't have to pay compensation for that particular delay,".

I would think that a contract provision would have to have some kind of time limit?

No airline would sign into an indefinite delay provision, before seeking compensation, would they?

What is the time limit, before compensation becomes an issue as a result of a strike delay?

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