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Old 09-14-2005, 11:35 PM   #1  
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Default Boeing air cargo forecast


Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) - 1:12 PM PDT Wednesday

Boeing's air cargo forecast remains bright

The Boeing Co. said the world's fleet of cargo planes will more than double over the next 20 years, as the air freight industry completes its emergence from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Boeing's (NYSE: BA) market outlook report, released Wednesday, indicates that the cargo fleet will add 2,870 new planes by 2024, while 1,100 of the planes will be retired. The resulting net gain of 1,770 planes brings the total worldwide fleet to 3,530 airplanes, Boeing said.

"The overall forecast is slightly higher than last year's forecast, with about 100 more airplanes entering the fleet than we projected previously," said Jim Edgar, regional director of cargo marketing in Asia. "Carriers also are looking increasingly to large freighters, especially the 747 and 777 models, for optimal efficiency and range."

The higher demand for Boeing's wide-body jets is especially good news for the Boeing factory in Everett, where all of those models are assembled.

The report said the share of wide-body freighters is expected to increase to 64 percent of the fleet, compared to 47 percent currently. About 60 percent of the freighters that will be added to the fleet will be wide-body airplanes, officials said.

"We continue to note that the strongest growth will be associated with Asia," said Tom Hoang, Boeing regional director of cargo marketing in the Americas and China. "China, in particular, is an area where the air cargo industry, while still young, is poised for high growth rates -- in the range of 10 percent per year."

Boeing said it provides more than 90 percent of the world's air freighter capacity, and expects that percentage to remain stable as most conversions will be for larger Boeing planes.
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