Emery F. Johnson, 67, president and chairman of the board of Air Cargo Inc. from 1955 to 1971, died of cancer Wednesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Since retiring from Air Cargo, he had been administrator of the Washington Clinic, operated by a group of doctors here.

Mr. Johnson joined Air Cargo in 1947 and became its chief executive in 1955. Owned jointly by U.S. airlines, it is a ground service orgainization that handles air fright for the airlines.

Once a copilot, Mr. Johnson became one of the leading figures in the aviation industry.

He had started out its aviation in 1931, subsequently holding traffic, sales and executive positions with Western Air Express, Transworld Airlines and United Airlines.

In 1944, he joined the Air Transport Association of America here as its first director of cargo traffic.

In 1960, noting that air freight had become the fastest growing segment of the air transportation industry since World War II, Mr. Johnson predicted that it would continue to grow "spectacularly" with the advent of the turbine engine. This, he said, would create a major new industry and broaden the role of the commercial airlines.

Mr.Johnson had been a director of Avemco Corporation, a national aviation and insurance finance organization, since 1965.

Born in Kenosha, Wis., MR. Johnson grew up in the Los Angeles area. He attended the University of Southern California.

He was a member and former president and director of the National Aviation Club of Washington.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy J., of the home in Falls Church; five children, Mark M., of Los Angeles, David M. and Emery Anne, both of New York City, and Kim M. and Lin M., both of the home, and two sisters, Lois Henderson and Avis Mathis, both of Los Angeles.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.