“Freighter operators have been in a unique position in 2020 to meet market requirements for speed, reliability and security, transporting medical supplies and other goods for people and communities around the world,” said Darren Hulst, vice president of Commercial Marketing. “Looking ahead, dedicated freighters will be even more critical to compete in air cargo markets; they carry more than half of air cargo traffic, and airlines operating them earn nearly 90% of air cargo industry revenue.”
In addition to projecting long-term demand for freighters, the WACF provides insights into air cargo performance during the pandemic, including the following:
- E-commerce, which was growing at double-digit rates prior to the pandemic, has accelerated its impact on the air cargo market as more businesses shifted to online selling platforms. Year to date through September, express carriers increased traffic by 14%.
- Passenger belly cargo, which in 2019 accounted for about half of the world air cargo capacity, was significantly reduced when airlines parked thousands of planes. Freighter operators responded by operating above normal utilization levels, and traffic for all-cargo carriers grew 6%.
- So far in 2020, approximately 200 airlines used more than 2,000 passenger widebody aircraft for cargo-only operations to generate cash flow and support global supply chains. These passenger freighters have taken up some of the capacity shortfall and, in some cases, generated quarterly profits for carriers despite minimal passenger operations.
The full cargo market forecast can be found at www.boeing.com/wacf.