India Cargo Fleet Size Will Grow Many Times: Boeing India Head

The fleet size of cargo planes in the country is set to grow from the current 15 to 80 by 2041, said Salil Gupte, president of Boeing India.

He said the surge in demand for cargo movement in the country is being fueled by the growth of e-commerce and the expansion of electronics manufacturing.

“India has seen an increase in cargo demand during the pandemic and we expect this to continue,” Gupte said. “First, growth in e-commerce is driving demand for narrow body conversions. Additionally, the expansion of Indian electronics manufacturing, particularly in higher value manufacturing, is a key driver of cargo demand,” he added.

According to Airports Authority of India data, operational airports handled 3.14 million tons of cargo in 2021-22, which is 94% of the cargo handled in 2017-18.

Airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India Express want to increase their freighter fleets. In fact, earlier this month, SpiceJet spun off its SpiceXpress freight and logistics business into a separate entity — SpiceXpress and Logistics.

Boeing’s 2022 World Air Cargo Forecast predicts that cargo traffic will double and the global freighter fleet will increase by 60% by 2041.

Nearly 2,800 production and converted freighters are needed to meet that demand, with a third being new production freighters and two-thirds being converted freighters, such as the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF), giving airlines more flexibility with existing and emerging markets.

Boeing recently announced an agreement with GMR Aero Technic to establish a new Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) line in Hyderabad.

The BCF line is intended to support future conversions of domestic and foreign passenger aircraft to cargo aircraft.

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