According to a worldwide freighter forecast recently compiled by OAG, the installed base of jet freighter aircraft will hit 2,629 vehicles by 2021, representing a 4.1-percent compound annual growth rate from 2011′s total of 1,755 aircraft. This increase will come in the form of 631 new aircraft and 768 conversions, the majority of which will be 757s. Nearly 570 freighters will be retired in the next 10 years.
Surveying the current landscape, OAG found that 61 percent of the freighters currently in operation are wide-bodies, 37 percent are narrow-bodies and 2 percent are regional aircraft. Wide-body aircraft will increase by 10 percent in the next 10 years, but narrow-bodies will decrease to 28 percent and regional aircraft will be cut in half. Of the retired aircraft, 50 percent of the total will consist of 727, 747 and 757 planes.
The sharpest increase in freighters will happen in the Asia-Pacific region, according to OAG. India is expected to see a CAGR of 10.5 percent, and China’s freighters will increase by 9.2 percent. The majority of these planes, OAG revealed, will consist of 777-200Fs, 747-8Fs and A330-200Fs. Worldwide, 210 deliveries of -200Fs and 162 deliveries of -8Fs are anticipated in the next 10 years. Airbus will deliver 132 330-200Fs to carriers around the world in the next decade.
With these significant increases in freighters come the increased cost of aircraft modifications, new components, and line, engine and airframe maintenance. Over the next 10 years MRO spend will rise from $5.4 billion in 2012 to almost $8.6 billion in 2021, according to OAG.