The continued growth in population levels worldwide—coupled with increased economic activity — in light of globalization and modern interconnected economies have led to the accelerated expansion of the air cargo market worldwide. In 2017, air freight traffic recorded around 54.3 million tons of freight carried through commercial airlines worldwide and in that same year, the revenue of cargo airlines amounted to around 50.7 billion U.S. dollars worldwide.
Similar growth has been replicated in the U.S. air cargo market over the past 50 years. As of 2017, there was more than 800 cargo aircraft in the commercial aircraft fleet of the United States and in that same year, there was a combined total of over 35 billion cargo revenue ton miles generated both in the domestic and international markets in the U.S. The domestic market is mostly dominated by FedEx Corporation and closely followed by United Parcel Services (UPS). In 2016, FedEx which operates a fleet size of over 600 aircraft, alone generated cargo revenue of over 27 billion U.S. dollars.
The United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany are among the leading destinations for U.S. air freight service exports. In 2015, the United States exported air freight services to the value of more than 14 billion U.S. dollars in total. The most common commodities transported by freight in the U.S. include machinery, electronics and motorized vehicles. China currently provides by far the most air freight trade lanes to the United States, closely followed by Colombia, Chile, and India and the leading cargo airport in the U.S. based on tonnage is currently Memphis International Airport in Tennessee.
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