When the world moves goods through the air, it is a 19-to-one likelihood that those goods will move on an airplane built by The Boeing Company. Boeing airplanes account for nearly 95 percent of the world's dedicated air freighter capacity, clearly dominating the world's air cargo fleet, making Boeing the undisputed leader.
Today's world air cargo industry is a $45 billion business that continues to grow at a rate exceeding that of air passenger travel. This trend is expected to continue, with a long-term growth rate that is expected to average 6.4 percent per year for the next 20 years.
"The dominance by Boeing airplanes in the world's air cargo industry is directly related to the fact that we offer the only complete choice of jet freighter products," said Seddik Belyamani, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing - Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group. "Boeing offers a 'total solutions' product line, including a full range of new production freighters and modification capabilities for passenger-to-freighter conversions."
The unmatched Boeing full line of new production freighters range from today's largest commercial freighter, the 124-ton 747-400 Freighter to the 20-ton 737-700C (convertible), including the 767-300 and 757-200 Freighters. The company's commitment to jet freighters goes back to the 707 and DC-8 freighter models.
"While we have had great success with our line of production freighter airplanes, we also are looking to the future," Belyamani noted. "We are also developing the new Boeing 747X Stretch Freighter, which offers operational simplicity and commonality with the existing 747 freighter fleet, as well as the lowest ton-mile costs of any freighter being discussed. In addition, the 747X Stretch Freighter will have the ability to transport 10-foot (three-meter) high containers, like the existing 747 family."
The 747X Stretch is being planned to hold 4,470 cubic feet (126.57 cubic meters) more main deck volume and 1,750 cubic feet (49.55 cubic meters) extra lower-hold volume than the 747-400 Freighter. A 747X Stretch Freighter would become the most efficient freighter, with 23 percent more volume and the ability to carry 65,400 pounds (29,665 kilograms) of extra cargo than today's 747-400 Freighter. In addition, a 747X Stretch Freighter will carry equivalent payload on fewer decks, with about 100,000 pounds (45,360 kilograms) less weight than its planned competitor.
Boeing also is an industry leader in passenger-to-freighter conversions. Boeing Airplane Services offers a full range of conversions for Boeing and Douglas jetliner models and can match virtually any air cargo requirement with one of its specially designed conversion programs.
Boeing Airplane Services offers passenger and combi-to-freighter conversion programs for 747, 767, MD-11, 757, DC-10, 737 and MD-80 commercial airplane models. As the original equipment manufacturer, Boeing uses original airplane design data as well as the latest design change information in the "special freighter" modification process.
To assist customers in procuring obtaining previously operated Boeing airplanes for passenger operation or modification to freighter configuration, Boeing Aircraft Trading has created a pool of airplanes to serve this important market segment. Thus Boeing is able to purchase, reconfigure and deliver airplanes that fit the needs of virtually any operator.
Also proposed by Boeing is the BC-17X (formerly known as the MD-17) to meet worldwide demand for heavy and outsize goods, such as satellites, construction equipment, and power generating equipment that are too large to fit in the doors of conventional freighters. Often these are emerging markets in remote locations characterized by limited transportation infrastructure. The BC-17X will offer new options for picking up these products at, or closer to, the source and delivering them at, or closer to, the final destination.
Clearly, Boeing occupies the leadership role in providing jet freighter capacity to the world's air cargo carriers.