ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Asia-Pacific stokes freight demand
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to command the highest growth of close to 300 percent in freighter fleet in the next 20 years, outpacing the total world demand of 115 percent.
“Freight traffic is expected to triple in the next 20 years with an average annual growth of 6 percent from now until 2029,” Airbus SAS A330 marketing manager Cyrille Picard said at a briefing.
He said the freighter demand growth over the next two decades would be driven by Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and India.
Picard opined that Malaysia would generally experience a healthy growth in air-freight traffic due to its economy and pass-through traffic from the region.
He said there was still a growing demand in China but due to the higher labor cost in (the first-tier cities of) China, some operators were moving to the secondary cities.
“There will be some throughput to be passed through Malaysia as operators could fly through Kuala Lumpur with a mid-sized freighter such as A330-200F,” Picard said, adding that due to the move to secondary cities in China, demand for mid-sized freighter would also increase.
Globally, Airbus predicted that freighter fleet would more than double within the next 20 years.
Picard said it was still important to develop the air-freight industry although air-freight currently represented less than 1 percent of total world trade tonnage. “While it may account for less than 1 percent of world tonnage, airfreight represents about 40 percent of world trade value of about US$200bil a year,” he added.
Asked if the current economic instability would affect Airbus forecast, Picard said: “Freighters would be the first to be impacted (in any economic downturn) but also the first to recover.”
Picard said that currently the A330-200F was the only aircraft that could fill the gap between a small freighter and a large one. The A330-200F can fly up to 4,000 nautical miles with some 65-tonne payload.
Picard said the four A330-200F that Malaysia Airlines Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASKargo) had ordered could be used for both regional and long-haul destinations, proving its versatility. The aircraft has a catalogue price of US$203.6 million The cargo arm of national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) took delivery of its first A330-200F on Thursday. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. MASKargo was the fourth operator in the world and the first in South-East Asia to take delivery of the aircraft.
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