Asia-Pacific airlines will continue to dominate air cargo markets and freighter orders over the next two decades, according to the latest report from Airbus.
The European air giant forecasts that the number of freighters operated by airlines in the region will triple from just over 300 today to some 970 by 2032, representing a third of the global freighter fleet.
While many of the aircraft will be converted from passenger models, Airbus expects around 270 to be new orders.
“As in other world regions, around 30 percent of the freighters will be in the 45 to 70-tonne [metric ton] category served by mid-size widebody aircraft, such as the A330,” Airbus said.
Asia-Pacific airlines are also expected to lead total demand for new aircraft over the next 20 years, taking delivery of a combined 10,940 new passenger and cargo aircraft from 2013-2032, valued at US$1.8 trillion.
“This represents 37 percent of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next 20 years, ahead of Europe, North America and the Middle East,” Airbus said. “In value terms, the region will account for 42 percent of the global market for new airliners, reflecting the higher proportion of widebody aircraft required in Asia-Pacific.”
The International Air Transport Association recently forecast air cargo growth in the Asia-Pacific region of 3.5 percent annually through 2017, with Vietnam seeing the fastest rise, at 6.6 percent per annum. “Vietnam is an attractive low cost location for manufacturers, so this will help boost demand for air freight for that nation over the next five years,” Julie Perovic, IATA’s senior economist, told the JOC in December 2013.
Analysts and others are optimistic air cargo volumes in the region will rebound in 2014 after falling 1 percent last year, despite continuing challenges for the air cargo industry. Moreover, it is also anticipated that China will replace Germany as the second largest air freight market in the next five years, according to Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association.
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