Cargo traffic to rebound next year, Boeing says

GOOD PROSPECTS::The aircraft manufacturer foresees that recovering Asia-Pacific GDP growth may increase trade volumes and stimulate aviation cargo demand

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 13

Aviation cargo traffic in the Asia-Pacific region may rebound next year from the bottom recorded this year following an expected recovery in global trade at the end of this year, a Boeing Co executive said yesterday.

The US-based manufacturer made the comments after announcing its latest Current Market Outlook (CMO) report, which said it expects 5.2 percent average annual growth in aviation cargo traffic in the next 20 years.

“We have seen cargo traffic [in the Asia-Pacific region] return to growth again over the past two or three months,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth said.

The global aviation cargo market has been flat since 2011 due to overcapacity, with average load factors and freight utilization rates staying low, Tinseth said.

However, recovering GDP growth in the Asia-Pacific region may increase the volume of trade, further improving demand in the aviation cargo sector from later this year, he said, adding that China remains the market with the biggest potential.

That could translate into demand for 370 cargo freighters, as well as 490 converted freighters, in the region in the next 20 years, Tinseth said.

Boeing’s report also said that air travel in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow at an annual rate of 6.4 percent through 2032, based on its forecast of 4.5 percent annual GDP growth in the region during the same period.

The steady growth of Taiwanese carriers is expected to continue, Tinseth said, citing rapid expansion of cross-strait travel, as well as ongoing market liberalization.

That would see Taiwanese airlines needing an additional 250 new aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at US$65 billion, Tinseth said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, carriers may order a total of 12,820 new planes valued at US$1.9 trillion during the same period, he added.

Nearly half of the world’s growth in air traffic would be driven by travel to and within the Asia-Pacific region in the next 20 years, with available seat miles (ASMs) contributed by low-cost carriers set to account for 20 percent from the 10 percent recorded last year, Boeing said in its report.

That would make single-aisle aircraft the biggest sellers in the region over the next two decades, the report said.

The airplane manufacturer forecast more than 8,800 planes, or 69 percent of overall aircraft required in the Asia-Pacific region, would be single-aisle aircraft, with the Boeing 737 MAX likely to be its best-selling plane.