Forecasting Medium-Widebody Supply and Demand

UPS is one airline looking at its future medium-widebody freighter needs.

Last week, Cargo Facts Consulting published the latest edition of our 20-Year Freighter Forecast, covering  the years 2018-2037. We thought it would be interesting to look beyond the forecast of freighter aircraft demand and briefly examine the supply. So, let’s do a brief analysis of the near-term outlook for medium widebodies, one of the most popular categories of freighters for express and e-commerce.

Airbus and Boeing are both producing new build medium-widebody factory freighters, but the A330-200F program is at death’s door, and most of the currently available future 767-300F production (until Boeing’s recently announced production rate increase kicks in), has been tied up by orders from FedEx. Not surprisingly, the three companies converting medium widebodies, Boeing, EFW, and IAI-Bedek, are flush with orders, and close-in conversion slots, at least for the 767, are scarce.

The first five-year increment of the Cargo Facts Consulting forecast (2018-2022) requires the addition of 156 medium-widebody aircraft to cover fleet growth and retirements – an average of just over 30 per year. Where will these aircraft come from?

There are currently six available medium widebody freighter choices: new-build 767-300Fs, freighter-converted 767-300s (by Boeing and IAI-Bedek), new build A330-200Fs, freighter-converted A330-200s (by EFW), and freighter-converted A330-330s.  In the last twelve months (May 2017-April 2018) the number of new and re-delivered freighters in this size category broke down as shown in the chart at right.

Therefore, there appear to be just enough medium-widebody freighters being produced to meet forecast demand. However, conversion of the A330 is just starting up, and Boeing has announced an increase in the 767F production rate. So, although conversion slots may remain tight, there appear to be more than enough total medium-widebody freighters to go around, at least in the near future, while 767-300ER passenger feedstock remains available.

For more information, or to purchase the updated Freighter Forecast, visit


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