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Sustained freighter demand expected over next 20 years, says Airbus

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Airbus expects sustained demand for freighters over the next 20 years with nearly 70% of the current fleet anticipated to be replaced.

The airframer’s 2022 Global Market Forecast for the 2022-2041 period shows that the world freighter fleet in service will reach 3,070 aircraft by 2041.

This new report, published on July 8, anticipates there will be demand for 2,440 newbuild or converted freighters over the next 20 years, with nearly 900 newbuild freighters expected.

Of this expected freighter demand over 2022-2041, 990 will be 10-40 tonne single-aisle aircraft, 890 will be 40-80 tonne mid-sized widebody aircraft and 560 will be 80 tonne + large widebody aircraft.

2,030 aircraft were in service at the beginning of 2020. 31% will stay in-service (including 2020 & 2021 deliveries), while 69% will be replaced.

Express air cargo is predicted to outpace general air cargo.

The airframer said that in 2019, express air cargo made up 17% of the airfreight market, while general air cargo encompassed 83%.

But by 2041, express air cargo, boosted by e-commerce is expected to climb to comprise 25% of the market.

Airbus expects world air cargo traffic growth of 3.2% CAGR from 2019-2041.

The positive expectation of freighter demand over the coming years comes as Airbus recently announced the development of a new large widebody freighter model – the A350F.

Air Cargo News reported on July 11 that an unnamed customer has placed an order for seven Airbus A350 freighter aircraft.

Silk Way West Airlines signed a purchase agreement for two A350Fs last month.

Air France-KLM finalised its order for four A350Fs with purchase rights for an additional four aircraft in April, after signing a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Airbus in December.

In December, Singapore Airlines (SIA) signed an LOI to purchase seven A350Fs, with options to order another five aircraft, while in November, CMA CGM signed up for four A350Fs.

Air Lease also placed a provisional order for seven A350Fs in November, making it the launch customer for Airbus’ new freighter programme.

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