Although 2019 was a year in which we saw air cargo volumes decline year over year consistently and consecutively, the overall number of in-service widebody freighter aircraft still managed to grow. In mid-January 2020, we tallied 1,176 widebody jet freighters in commercial service worldwide, with seventy-eight carriers. This represents an increase of fifty-two aircraft, or 5%, compared with the total a year ago.
Following on from last year, the global widebody fleet again reached a new high in January 2020. Airbus and Boeing both delivered record numbers of widebody passenger aircraft with large cargo-friendly bellies in 2019, so the continued growth of the widebody freighter fleet reinforces the notion that belly cargo and main-deck capacity do not overlap, for the most part. The 777F led the way in terms of numbers added in 2019, at twenty-seven, or 17% more than the previous year, unlike the period from January 2018 to January 2019, during which carriers added more production 767-300Fs than any other type. The production 767-300F wasn’t far behind, with twenty-one more aircraft in service than a year ago.
For a breakdown of the in-service widebody freighter fleet by carrier, and to continue reading this feature, go to Page 14 of our February 2020 issue.