Boeing: Air Cargo Rebound Under Way

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Worldwide air-freight traffic has already started to recover from a recent downturn, and the market is expected to triple in size by 2029, Boeing said in a forecast released this week. "Industrial requirements are driving the rebound, as air cargo is an essential tool for industry and commerce to manage supply chains and bring goods to market," said Jerry Allyne, an analyst with Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "As airlines return to profitability, they will begin to consider fleet renewal to improve long-term operating costs." Air cargo traffic rebounded strongly beginning in November 2009 and has continued to grow so far this year. As a result, world air cargo traffic is expected to regain its 2007 peak by the end of this year, Boeing said.

"Economic activity -- world gross domestic product -- is the key driver of the air cargo market," said Allyne. "Following the recession and a year of recovery, world economic growth is forecast to average 3.2 percent over the next two decades." In August 2009, industrial activity began to recover, particularly in Asia, and monthly air cargo traffic statistics turned positive in November 2009, Boeing said. The first eight months of 2010 have seen an estimated 24 percent growth in traffic, compared to the same period in 2009. The number of airplanes in the freighter fleet is expected to expand from 1,755 airplanes in 2009 to 2,967 airplanes in 2029. Boeing released the biennial forecast at the International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition 2010 in Amsterdam on Tuesday.