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Volatile oil prices will minimally impact global air-freight growth over the long term, according to a Boeing Company report cited in a recent GlobeSt.com article.  The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturing giant’s Current Market Outlook 2008 predicts that growth will achieve an annualized average rate of 5.8 percent from 2007 through 2027.  Similarly, the report projects that the world freighter fleet will nearly double from 1,948 planes today to 3,892 over the next 20 years.

“The forecast is based on a number of factors, most significantly economic growth in diverse areas of the world,” said Jim Edgar, Boeing’s 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.”

The report notes that the nature of the air-freighter fleet will change as larger aircraft increase their market share.  Currently, the largest freighters make up 26 percent of the market; in 20 years, that number will rise to 35 percent.  Fleet additions will include 863 new-production aircraft; 641 of those will be wide-body planes with the capacity to carry more than 80 tons.  The share of standard-body freighters (defined as having less than a 45-ton capacity with single-aisle body width) will fall from 39 percent to 35 percent over the next 20 years.

“We expect several trends to continue,” according to Edgar.  “Dedicated freighters will continue to provide an increasing proportion of air-cargo capacity, going to nearly 54 percent, and the industry will continue to move to larger airplanes.”

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