Future predictions by Boeing of the global air freight market
longstanding relationship between GDP growth and the increase in air cargo volumes.
5% growth in passenger traffic, according to Boeing (graph 1).
of cargo marketing for Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, said air cargo
traffic growth would continue to outpace passenger growth in every major world
the sector from 200bn revenue tonne-km (RTK) today to 500bn RTK by 2025.
the figure could be nearer 700bn RTK by that time.
operating close to a multiple of 2.3 times over the last 20 years, shows signs
of departing from that pattern since 2004 (graph 2).
high-value products will still go by air. But some commodities are on the border
between modes, for example, plasma TVs. It will be interesting to see what variables
we will see.”
expansion, restoring the sector to its steady 7% growth track. The decrease commonly
attributed to the terrorist attacks in September 2001, for example, had already
been visible from the fourth quarter of 2000 when the IT sector collapsed and
the US, Japanese and European economies went into reverse.
lane, by the US west coast ports strike.
the new trend apparent since then is that, while GDP growth has remained relatively
robust, air freight has failed to keep pace. If the soaring cost of fuel is solely
to blame, Boeing and its customers may have to adjust their expectations.
own economists, to grow at 3.1% a year through to 2025. North America and Europe,
with their large existing economic base, will come in below the global average,
outgrown by Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa (graph 3).
the world, China’s GDP is predicted to increase at 6.8% a year. Whether the traditional
correlation with GDP holds or not, it is obvious which will be the best performing
grow the most rapidly (graph 4), as the share of world air trade connected to
Asia increases from 51% in 2005 to 63% by 2025. Europe-North America and intra-North
American markets will expand, but at a more modest rate.
trade (Germany 22%, the UK 20%, France 11%, and the Netherlands and Italy 9%).
But growth is slow in this relatively mature market, with UK-US traffic averaging
only 1.3% growth from 2001 to 2006.
AsiaPacific countries. And Asian business comes at a more lucrative rate for
the airlines, with exports from the UK typically yielding US$1-1.10 per kilo and
was “very directional”, with imports topping 220,000 tonnes while exports were
a little over 20,000 tonnes.
thanks to the emergence of strong Asian competition – although Hoang suggested
the new players’ business models may not all be sustainable.
are wet-leasing B747-200s because there is no availability [of alternative aircraft].”
Hoang did not believe longhaul rail routes such as the planned Schenker service
from Asia to Europe would have an immediate impact, but accepted that improvements
in both trucking and rail services had hit domestic European and intra-European
air freight markets. “The domestic Chinese market will go that way long term,
” he said.
or more of revenue – and 50% in the case of Eva Air. European airlines are in
the middle ground, with cargo’s contribution in the teens, while for North American
carriers, it makes only a single-digit contribution.
sees the global freighter fleet growing from 1,980 aircraft in 2006 to 3,980 by
2025, with the widebody component growing from 58% to 64%, reflecting the higher-than-average
growth of longhaul routes out of China.
by number, but the rush to widebody will see freighters’ proportion of cargo capacity
awkward freight. Taking revenues for standard cargo as $2-2.25 per kilo, Hoang
said outsize freight could yield $3.50-4.00 – “so you command a premium for a
24 customers for B747-400 freighters, a full sell-out of the type which the manufacturer
expects to bridge the gap until the arrival of the B747-8.
far has attracted 78 firm orders from nine customers. Trip costs are the same
as the B747-400, Boeing claims, but payload will be 134 tonnes compared with 109
offer 103 tonnes payload but with “twinengine economics”, Hoang said.
with the B747-8. He said Korean Air and Emirates were buying both types and “matching
the right aircraft to the right market”.
from Beijing came down short of the runway at Heathrow, had not raised any new
issues and would not delay Boeing’s introduction of the freighter version.
combine 103 tonnes payload with twin-engine economics