Airbus SAS said companies will order about 870 new freighter planes valued at about $234 billion in the next two decades, driven by cargo demand from Asia-Pacific.
That will boost the global freighter fleet to about 3,000 aircraft by 2032, Toulouse, France-based Airbus said in a statement in Hong Kong today. Of this, 1,860 will be cargo carriers converted from passenger aircraft.
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for 42 percent of the global airfreight traffic by 2032, with China emerging as the biggest driver for air-cargo growth, Airbus said. Airlines in countries from India to Indonesia are also boosting passenger-plane orders as economic growth enables more people to fly.
“Looking forward after a difficult few years, world trade is showing improvements,” Andreas Hermann, the planemaker’s head of freighters, said in the statement. “Diverse emerging markets will call for increased flexibility in air cargo transportation.”
Global air cargo traffic may increase 4.8 percent annually over the next 20 years, Airbus said. Airfreight demand has increased since April and climbed 3.6 percent in August as the economies in the U.S. and Europe show some signs of recovery, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Airbus expects demand for mid-sized freighters will expand amid the improvement in global trade and demand from China. The number of such aircraft will probably increase to more than 1,290 by 2032 from 744 at the end of last year, it said.
Demand for small cargo planes is expected to increase to more than 600 by 2032 from 380 last year, helped by a boom in express freight in China and India. The fleet of large aircraft, which represents about 32 percent of the current market, could increase to over 1,000.
The A330 aircraft’s freighter model currently has orders for 43, Hermann told reporters in Hong Kong.