New Freighter Forecast Projects Continuing Fleet Growth

  • Skylar Taylor
  • April 24, 2018
  • Press

Cargo Facts Consulting Sees Demand for Freighters Growing to More Than 3,300

NEW YORK (April 24, 2018) — Cargo Facts Consulting (CFC), a leading global consultancy and a sister venture of industry newsletter Cargo Facts, projects significant growth in the global freighter aircraft fleet over the next 20 years.

This according to the consultancy’s new 20-Year Freighter Forecast for 2018 released at the annual Cargo Facts Asia event today in Shanghai.

This 14th edition of the yearly report includes CFC’s prediction for the freighter fleet make-up in 2037, taking into account an assessment of new-build freighter production, passenger-to-freighter (P-to-F) conversion activity, and the retirement of freighters from the existing freighter fleet. Included is CFC’s prediction of the freighter fleet make-up in 2037 by aircraft type, for both the jet freighter and the turboprop/RJ segments.

A feature of CFC’s forecast for the jet freighter segment continues to be the interactive Forecast Analysis Tool, which accompanies the report and has been completely revamped for the 2018 edition. This newly improved online analysis tool further expands its utility for testing the sensitivity of the forecast results to future levels of demand growth and aircraft productivity enhancements, and to shifts in the portion of freight carried in passenger aircraft bellies.

According to this enhanced 20-Year Freighter Forecast, the aviation consultancy expects demand for freighter aircraft to continue trending higher, albeit not at the same rate as before the 2008/09 Global Economic Crisis.

Specifically, the 2018 report predicts that the fleet will grow to 3,314 freighter aircraft by the year 2037 based on annual growth in air cargo demand of 4%. The fleet currently stands at 1,951 units in the jet freighter and turboprop/RJ freighter segments, combined. During the 20-year period, nearly 3,000 freighters will be required to meet growth and replacement needs in both segments.

New-build jet freighters will be concentrated at the top end of the market, as nearly 60% of these will be in the large-widebody freighter market segment, according to the report. In this large-capacity segment, CFC predicts almost 85% of the added freighters will be new production aircraft, as contrasted with the narrowbody freighter market in which CFC forecasts that all units added over the next twenty years will be P-to-F conversions. The report also notes new interest in production freighters in the turboprop segment.

“At Cargo Facts Consulting we found that the quantity of freighters in the global fleet increased about 3% in 2017. There were a number of positive developments in the air cargo sector, which underpin our forecast of continuing growth in both the jet and turboprop/RJ freighter segments,” noted Robert Dahl, co-author of CFC’s new 20-Year Freighter Forecast. “Global air cargo demand was up sharply, and we saw the entry into service of the first of the newer-generation converted freighters in the narrowbody and medium widebody segments, coupled with the launch of two production turboprop freighter programs,” he added. “These events signal the start of the transition to newer freighter models across a wide spectrum of sizes.”

The Cargo Facts Freighter Forecast has been the fundamental resource for strategic analysis of the current and future freighter fleet since 2005. CFC’s forecast is unique in projecting fleet growth in five-year increments through the twenty-year forecast period. For more information or to order the newly released edition, please visit


Cargo Facts Consulting (CFC — formerly known as Air Cargo Management Group) is the premier aviation consulting firm specializing in the freighter aircraft, air freight and express businesses. The firm’s extensive experience stretches over forty years, beginning with the deregulation of the U.S. domestic air cargo industry in 1978. Since then, the firm has served a wide variety of U.S. and international clients, including integrated express operators, all-cargo airlines, combination carriers, financial institutions, airport authorities, aircraft manufacturers, and industry suppliers. CFC has an outstanding reputation within the industry and is quoted frequently in the press on matters relating to air freight markets and the application of freighter aircraft. CFC is a unit of Royal Media at

Co-authors Robert Dahl and Alan Hedge, aviation analysts with combined experience of more than 40 years, are available to provide expert commentary on the results of this report and on the air cargo industry, in general. Mr. Dahl can be reached at +1 (206) 971-2933. Mr. Hedge can be reached at +1 (206) 801-8472.