The commercial aircraft aerostructures market is poised for growth at a CAGR of around 5% during the forecast period 2020-2025. The term aerostructures encompasses all the structural components of an airframe. Aerostructures are required to withstand extreme conditions, ranging from prolonged exposure to extreme temperature variations, foreign object impact, and structural fatigue due to extreme loading cycles. Any aerostructure is an assembly of several structural members constructed primarily from either or all of the following materials: alloys, metals, and composites.
- The use of composites and other advanced materials in aerostructures have led to radical design changes in aircraft design. Their inherent high strength-to-weight ratio has resulted in significant weight savings, thereby enhancing fuel efficiency of the aircraft.
- Emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing and Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) techniques are enhancing the scope of integrating advanced materials into complex component designs, while also reducing the aircraft's turnaround time (TAT).
Key Market Trends
Rise in Passenger Traffic Encouraging Procurement of New-Generation Aircraft
The 38.88% increase in global passenger traffic between 2013 and 2018 has driven airline operators to initiate procurement drives and place firm orders for new-generation aircraft. In 2018, around 1,830 commercial aircraft were delivered to several airline operators across the globe. Aircraft OEMs are continuously honing their supply chain to reduce backlog of orders and ensure on-time delivery to the airlines. Several new orders have been placed during 2019 which has encouraged associated aerostructure manufacturers and integrators alike to enhance their production capabilities. Some of the notable aircraft orders are:
- In June 2019, Virgin Atlantic ordered 14 A330-900neos. During the same month, Qantas Airways Ltd. (Qantas) converted its order of 26 A321neo aircraft into A321 XLR. Moreover, Qantas also extended the order to procure additional 10 units of A321 XLRs, worth $1.4 billion.
- In September 2019, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines placed an $751 million order for two B777-300ER aircraft.
Such procurement orders would drive the business prospects of the market players during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific is Anticipated to Experience the Highest CAGR During the Forecast Period
The robust economic growth, coupled with favorable population and demographic profiles of the populace in developing countries, especially in the Asia-Pacific region is driving the air passenger traffic in the region. This has resulted in a steady increase in the demand for aircraft originating from Asia-Pacific. As of September 2019, 411 narrow-body aircraft and 160 wide-body aircraft were delivered to this region by various aircraft OEMs. By 2025, China is forecasted to become the world's largest aviation market in terms of air traffic, India is forecasted to develop into the world's third largest aviation market, while other countries such as Indonesia and Thailand are forecasted to enter the top 10 global markets. The aviation manufacturing infrastructure is further supported by lower production costs, driving major aircraft OEMs to establish manufacturing hubs in the region. For instance, Airbus has entrenched industrial partnerships with more than 600 firms in 15 countries in the region, for ensuring supply of parts for Airbus aircraft. South Korea’s KAL Aerospace and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) are key suppliers for Airbus and produce aerostructures, including parts of the A350 XWB fuselage, wing, cargo door and landing gear, and the Sharklet wingtip device for the A320 and A330neo aircraft.
The commercial aircraft aerostructures market has been witnessing the emergence of new market players that provide full lifecycle support, ranging from conceptual design, testing, and regulatory compliance certification. Since, an aerostructure is required to withstand extreme operating conditions, the aerostructure materials are subjected to extensive testing to analyze and determine their performance parameters. Leading market players such as Aernnova Aerospace S.A., Airbus SE, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd., Bombardier Inc., DuPont de Nemours, Inc., FACC AG, and The Boeing Company, combine customer-specific design processes with their extensive metallic and composite structures knowledge, value engineering techniques, and design automation expertise to design cost effective next-generation aerostructures. Furthermore, the aerostructure designers are required to conduct manufacturing non-conformance, stress justifications, and design office dispositions after signatory approvals from concerned authorities. Such regulations may expose the market players to financial risks owing to the high R&D expenditure divested towards designing advanced materials for aerostructure construction.
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