Boeing has recently introduced its biennial World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF) focused on a comprehensive and long-term view of the air cargo market. The forecast offers an in-depth analysis of global air trade markets including trends, regional market developments, and the world’s freighter fleet needs.
Multiple Drivers of Growth
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A range of issues beyond cyclical economic trends influence air cargo market growth forecasts. Among them are modal competition, globalization, market liberalization, and new air-eligible commodities.
Complementing the 2.6% long-term economic growth outlook, trade and
industrial production will be key drivers for air cargo growth.
We forecast that trade will outpace economic growth, increasing 2.8%, and that industrial production will grow 2.2%, both annually, over the next two decades. These economic factors, as well as the regulatory and industry structure dynamics highlighted above, support Boeing’s forecast that air cargo traffic, measured in revenue tonne kilometers, will grow an average of 4.1% annually from 2022 to 2041.
East Asian markets lead the global air cargo forecast in both volumes and
growth rates. Today, the Transpacific and Europe-to-East Asia air cargo
flows are the largest. By the end of the forecast period, the intra-East Asia
region will become the third largest global market, up from the number-five position in 2021, with 5.7% projected average annual growth.
Driving this shift will be increasing goods production and booming consumer markets. Industrial production, trade, and express-market growth are forecast to propel traffic growth of 5.3% in the domestic China market, the second fastest-growing flow in our 20-year forecast. The intra-North America and Transatlantic air cargo flows will round out the top five markets by the end of the forecast period, with large markets today but slower growth rates due to the more mature market dynamics of Europe and the United States.
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Graphs and charts: boeing.com