The fleet size of cargo aircraft in the country is expected to grow from the current 15 to 80 by 2041, Boeing India president Salil Gupte told Fe.
He said that the surge in demand for cargo movement in the country is being fuelled by the growth in e-commerce and expansion of electronics manufacturing.
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“India experienced a surge in cargo demand during the pandemic, and we expect this to continue,” Gupte said. “Firstly, the growth in e-commerce is fuelling demand for narrow body conversions. Additionally, the expansion of Indian electronics manufacturing, particularly in higher-value manufacturing, is a significant driver of cargo demand,” he added.
According to Airports Authority of India data, operational airports handled 3.14 million tonne of freight in 2021-22, which is 94% of freight handled in 2017-18.
Carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Air India Express are looking at increasing their freighter fleet size. SpiceJet, in fact has hived off its cargo and logistics business SpiceXpress into a separate entity — SpiceXpress and Logistics — beginning this month.
Boeing’s World Air Cargo Forecast 2022 has forecast doubling of cargo traffic and a 60% increase in the world’s freighter fleet by 2041.
Almost 2,800 production and converted freighters will be required to meet this demand, with a third being new production freighters and two-thirds being converted freighters, such as the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF), providing airlines with increased flexibility in existing and emerging markets.
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Recently, Boeing announced an agreement with GMR Aero Technic to establish a new ‘Boeing Converted Freighter’ (BCF) line in Hyderabad.
The BCF line is expected to support future conversions of both domestic and foreign passenger aircraft into freighters.