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Boeing Forecasts continued Strong Air Cargo Traffic Growth

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Boeing has forecast that the global air cargo market will continue to exhibit strong, long-term growth, in its Current Market Outlook 2008. During the 20-year forecast period, Boeing projects that the industry will grow at an annualized average of 5.8% with the world freighter fleet increasing from 1,948 to 3,892 airplanes.

This growth requires a total of 3,358 airplanes joining the freighter fleet by 2027, taking into account anticipated airplane retirements of 1,414 airplanes, according to the annual Outlook, which was released prior to the 2008 Farnborough Air Show.

The fleet additions will include 863 new production freighters, with a value of about $206 billion in current U.S. dollars, and 2,495 airplanes from conversions. According to Boeing widebody freighters will dominate the new production freighter total and 641 will be of the large freighter segment (more than 80 tons (72.6 tonnes) capacity). Demand for new production equipment is driven by operational efficiency and reliability, as well as environmental and regulatory pressures, including noise, emissions and aging.

"The forecast is based on a number of factors, most significantly economic growth in diverse areas of the world," said Jim Edgar, regional director, Cargo Marketing for Asia. "Over the long-term, global economic growth will drive demand for new, high-value products as well as seasonal perishables that people have become accustomed to enjoying."

More than 60% of the fleet additions will be in the widebody category (medium widebody) - with payloads of 40 to 80 tons (36.3 to 72.6 tonnes) - plus large freighters, increasing their share from 61% of the current fleet to 65% of the 2027 fleet. Consequently, there will be an increase in overall average freighter airplane payload, consistent with prior years' forecasts.

"We expect several trends to continue - dedicated freighters will continue to provide an increasing proportion of air cargo capacity, going to nearly 54%; and the industry will continue to move to larger airplanes," said Edgar. "Additionally, freighters will continue to comprise about 10% of the world jetliner fleet during the forecast period."

The share of standard-body freighters (defined as less than 45 tons (40.8 tonnes) capacity single-aisle body width) will decrease from 39% to 35% over the next two decades.

The Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast 2008/2009, a more detailed study, will be issued at the 2008 International Air Cargo Forum and Exposition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November.

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