Airbus forecast around 2,440 freighters will be needed by 2040

Overall, over the next 20 years there will be a need for around 2,440 freighters, out of which 880 will be new-build. In line with growth, ever more efficient aircraft operations globally increase the need for commercial aviation services.

Airbus forecast around 2,440 freighters will be needed by 2040
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Airbus forecasts that the demand for cargo, boosted by e-commerce, is driven by expected growth in express freight of 4.7 percent per year and a general cargo (representing about 75 percent of the market) growth of 2.7 percent. Overall, over the next 20 years, there will be a need for around 2,440 freighters, out of which 880 will be new-build.

In line with growth, ever more efficient aircraft operations globally increase the need for commercial aviation services – including maintenance, training, upgrades, flight operations, dismantling and recycling. This growth is on track at Airbus’ pre-pandemic forecast levels reaching a cumulative value of around $4.8 trillion in the next 20 years.

The demand for air transport to shift from fleet growth to the accelerated retirement of older, less fuel-efficient aircraft, resulting in a need for some 39,000 new-build passengers and freighter aircraft, 15,250 of these for replacement.

As a consequence, by 2040 the vast majority of commercial aircraft in operation will be of the latest generation, up from around 13 percent today, considerably improving the CO2 efficiency of the world’s commercial aircraft fleets.

“As economies and air transport mature, we see demand increasingly driven by replacement rather than growth. Replacement is today’s most significant driver for decarbonisation. The world is expecting more sustainable flying and this will be made possible in the short-term by the introduction of most modern airplanes,” said Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International. “Powering these new, efficient aircraft with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) is the next big lever. We pride ourselves that all our aircraft – the A220, A320neo Family, the A330neo and the A350 – are already certified to fly with a blend of 50 percent SAF, set to rise to 100 percent by 2030 – before making ZEROe our next reality from 2035 onwards.”

The global aviation industry has already achieved huge efficiency gains, as shown by the 53 percent decline in aviation’s global CO2 emissions since 1990. Airbus’ product range supports at least a 20 percent CO2 efficiency gain over previous-generation aircraft. In view of further ongoing innovations, product developments, operational improvements and market-based options, Airbus is supporting the air transport sector’s target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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