Boeing: 2013 Freighter Sales Slump Is an Anomaly

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“Who wants to go out and buy an expensive freighter right now?” asked BB&T Capital Markets senior vice president Kevin Sterling in a phone interview with Bloomberg. “Can that change when the economy comes roaring back? Maybe.” The limited demand for those types of aircraft has had an effect on Boeing (NYSE:BA), the world’s largest manufacturers of air freighters.

Relatively weak demand from customers has infected retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers, decreasing the need for overnight shipments and therefore decreasing purchases of Boeing’s cargo jets, which are the company’s most expensive aircraft. The company logged just 13 sales this year through July, a tally 20 percent less than the total purchased six years earlier, putting the manufacturer on track to receiving its fewest cargo-jet orders since the 2009 recession.

For Airbus — a main competitor of Boeing — 2013 sales have been even worse. No orders for the company’s A330 freighter, which began shipping in 2010, have been made so far this year. Shipping volumes are so bad that even the market for secondhand passenger aircrafts, which are often converted into cargo freighters, has become nearly nonexistent.

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