Home' Asian Aviation : AAV_March_2013 Contents AsianAviation | MARCH 2013 21
excess of demand and yields falling by 1.5%," IATA
So recovery from the slump of the past few years
may be around the corner, while the longer-term
outlook for the global air-freight market remains as
optimistic as ever.
In its latest biennial World Air Cargo Forecast,
released late in 2012, Boeing predicted that the global
cargo market will expand at 5.2% per annum over the
next 20 years, ending in 2031. The US manufacturer
said growth will be driven by the expansion of the
global economy, which is expected to almost double
over the forecast period. Trade is forecast to increase
through the liberalisation of markets, while more
efficient aircraft and infrastructure improvements will
reduce the cost of air cargo.
According to Boeing: "Air cargo traffic will grow
over the long term despite current near-term market
weakness and worldwide economic uncertainty. The
industry languished following the 2010 recovery,
posting slight declines in traffic in 2011 and ... 2012."
"Current industry uncertainty has brought a disparity
of viewpoint concerning the future of the air cargo
business, but economic activity -- particularly world
gross domestic product and industrial production --
remains the key driver of the air cargo market," said
Tom Crabtree, Boeing's regional director of business
development and strategic integration. "Over the
long term, indicators such as GDP growth at 3.2%
and the need for greater operational efficiency will
prevail in the marketplace."
Boeing forecasts that the world freighter fleet will
grow to 3,198 aircraft from 1,738 by 2031. Large
freighters -- including Boeing's 747 and 777 models
-- will represent 36% of the fleet, compared with
"The significant efficiency and capability advantages
of large freighters will enable carriers to manage
projected traffic growth without increasing the number
of airplanes proportionately," Boeing said. Growth in
demand will be met by the delivery of 935 new factory-
built aircraft, valued at US$250 billion, with 1,820
more freighters coming from passenger-to-freighter
conversions. Conversions will account for about 66%
of total demand, Boeing predicts.
"Air cargo is and will continue to be a vital tool for
global businesses and commerce in the management
of supply chains and bringing critical goods to
market," Crabtree said.
Markets connecting to the Asia-Pacific will lead
the industry in growth, while the highest percentage
traffic growth will come from China and intra-Asia
traffic, expanding at 8% and 6.9% per annum,
respectively, over the forecast period. North America-
Asia, Europe-South Asia, Europe-Asia, and Europe-
Middle East also will be above the world average.
'VOLATILE' FUEL COSTS
Fuel costs are expected to be volatile, but are not
anticipated to move significantly higher than they
are now, the manufacturer said. In addition, shippers
of such cargo as perishables and very high-value
commodities "will continue to find value in the speed
of air cargo".
"We are entering 2013 with some guarded
optimism," IATA's Tyler said. "Business confidence
is up. The Eurozone situation is more stable than it
was a year-ago and the US avoided the fiscal cliff."
Nevertheless, the industry still faces "significant
"There is no end in sight for high fuel prices
and GDP growth is projected at just 2.3%," Tyler
said. "But improved business confidence should
help cargo markets to recover the lost ground
from 2012. 2013 will not be a banner year for
profitability, but we should see some improvement
"The industry suffered a one-two punch. World trade declined sharply. And the
goods that were traded shifted towards bulk commodities more suited for sea
shipping." -- IATA chief Tony Tyler
GLOBAL AIR FREIGHT AT A GLANCE
As of 2012, the global fleet of freighter
aircraft with a capacity of 10 tons or more
exceeded 1,600, carrying 22,000 tons of
cargo per year. This global cargo traffic is
handled by about 200 carriers, some of
which also carry passengers.
According to European manufacturer
Airbus, almost every industry depends
on air transportation at some point in
its supply chain. The largest users of air
freight (by value of transported goods) are
the semiconductor/high-technology and
Semiconductors alone accounted for
17% by value of all goods transported in
2011, closely followed by 'valuables and
pharmaceuticals. By weight, the fresh foods
industry is the largest contributor to cargo
Overall, the air cargo industry carried
freight worth US$2.9 trillion in 2011, says
aviation consultancy Seabury Group.
Improved business confidence should help cargo markets to recover some lost ground this year, IATA says.
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