Improving economies, emergence of a more widely dispersed market, and ascendency of the air express market is serving to restore health to the air cargo industry. Average annual air cargo growth between now and 1997 is forecast at 6.6 percent in passenger service and 5.6 percent in freighter service. Air cargo characteristics on the whole will not change. However, recent loaded density studies have indicated a significant sensitivity to unit load device (ULD) volume, upper or lower deck location, and whether airline or shipper unitized. New highly efficient freighters such as the twin-jet MD-83, and the MD-XXX wide-body trijet under study, will enter service. These will be supplemented with low-cost conversions from used passenger aircraft such as the proposed DC-10-30F conversion. Advanced-technology freighters, including even more highly efficient propfans and others, will start to make their appearance in the 1990s.