Boeing forecasts air cargo traffic to increase twice in next twenty years

According to the information released by Boeing in the middle of November, the company is forecasting strong demand for air cargo services through 2041. As a result, air cargo traffic is expected to double until that time, together with expansion of the world´s freight aircraft fleet by more than sixty percent.

The forecast was published as part of the World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF) programme of the Boeing company. The WACF is a biennial supplement to the Commercial Market Outlook and is focused on a comprehensive and long-term view of the air cargo market.

The latest forecast points that the world´s fleet of cargo aircraft will require 2,800 newly produced or converted freighters until 2041, to meet the increased market needs. Among them, more capable, fuel-efficient, and sustainable aircraft, such as the 777-8 Freighter, will be especially in demand.

According to Boeing, the third of deliveries will consist of new production freighters, while the other two-thirds will be freighter conversions, such as the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter.

Antonov An-225 Mrija in front of cargo terminal at Prague Ruzyně, 2016

´While the air cargo market is returning to a more normal pace after historic demand in the last two years, structural factors including express network growth, evolving supply chain strategies and new cargo-market entrants are driving sustained freighter demand´, said Darren Hulst, Boeing vice president of Commercial Marketing. ´In the global transportation network, air freighters will continue to be a critical enabler to move high-value goods, in increased volume across expanding markets´.

It is also worth noting that according to the 2022 WACF forecast, the global freighter fleet is expected to grow by more than 1,300 aircraft over the next two decades, eventually exceeding the total number of 3,600 jets. Although the dedicated freighters will consist only eight per cent of the total commercial aircraft fleet, they will carry more than half of all air cargo. The remaining amount will be carried by passenger jets, as their belly cargo.

Moreover, it is expected that the Asia-Pacific region will take delivery of nearly 40% of all freighters, including new and converted aircraft.

The complete 2022 World Air Cargo Forecast can be found at

ATR 72-201(F) / Farnair Switzerland, Prague Ruzyně 2013

Cover photo: Boeing 747-409F, Air China. Information from the Boeing company press materials were used.