New Airbus freighter forecast

Airbus released a new edition of its Global Market Forecast showing aircraft demand for 2014 through 2033. During the 20-year period Airbus predicts 31,358 aircraft will be delivered, of which just 803 will be freighters.

Airbus 20-year freighter demand chart copyThe fleet prediction is based on average annual increases of 4.7% in passenger demand and 4.5% in cargo demand. The freight growth rate is down from a 4.8% average in last year’s GMF. According to Airbus, freighter deliveries through 2033 will total 2,358 units, consisting of:

  • 612 small freighters (payload from 10-to-30 tonnes),
  • 1,145 mid-size freighters (payload from 30-to-80 tonnes), and
  • 601 large freighters (payload over 80 tonnes).

As shown in the chart, Airbus predicts the 803 new production freighters will be split about equally between the mid-size and large categories, 414 and 389, respectively.

The forecast shows 1,555, freighter conversions through 2033. All 612 additions in the small category will be conversions, as will 731 of 1,145 total additions in the mid-size category, and 212 of 601 total additions in the large category.

Taking into account retirements from the current fleet, Airbus predicts the freighter fleet will grow from 1,645 units in the base year to 2,645 units in 2033, and Airbus forecasts greater belly space in passenger aircraft will “slightly decrease” the share of freight carried by dedicated freighter aircraft.

The size and composition of the future freighter fleet, and the respective future roles of belly and main-deck capacity will be the subject of much discussion at the upcoming Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium in Miami three weeks from now. The Airbus viewpoint will be well represented, with Andreas Hermann (Vice President, Asset Management & Freighters) taking part in the Session Three round-table discussion on “Fleet Strategies,” and Oliver von Tronchin (Airline Marketing Director) making the Day One Luncheon presentation. For more information about the Symposium, or to register, go to

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