Air cargo has recovered and is on track to grow 4.2% over the next 20 years
Air cargo traffic grew 10.1 percent in 2017, more than double the long-term average growth rate. In the next 20 years, air cargo traffic is expected to more than double and the world freighter fleet will grow by more than 75 percent.
E-commerce will continue to boost air cargo demand
Global retail e-commerce sales were $2.3 trillion in 2017, more than double the $1.1 trillion spent in 2012. With no signs of slowing down, the e-commerce market size is forecast to double again by 2021, reaching nearly $4.9 trillion.
Asia to lead future growth
Asia will continue to lead the world in average annual air cargo growth, supported by faster-growing economies and expanding middle classes. Domestic China, intra–East Asia, East Asia–North America, and Europe–East Asia markets are all expected to grow faster than the world average growth rate, demonstrating that markets within, serving, and connecting to Asia will lead growth in the next decade and beyond.
Freighters will continue to carry more than half of the world’s air cargo demand
While passenger belly capacity is increasing, freighters maintain a market share advantage for several reasons, which include providing highly controlled transport, direct routing, reliability, and unique capacity considerations (volume, weight, hazardous materials, and dimensions). These factors make freighter operations essential and are driving the forecast for freighters to continue carrying more than half of the world’s air cargo in the next 20 years.