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The global aerospace composites market size was USD 14.66 billion in 2018, and is projected to reach USD 29.69 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 9.27% during the forecast period.
Aerospace Industry has rapidly evolved in the composites market. One of the first uses of modern composites in the aerospace industry can be dated back to the 1970s in the skins of the empennages of F15 and F14 fighters of the United States. In its nascent phase, composites were used in only a few secondary structures but with the improvement in expertise and technology, the adoption of composites significantly increased in the aerospace industry. Today, composites are used in many primary structures including wings and fuselages. Various types of material matrix composites are used in the aerospace industry including metal particle reinforced, fiber-reinforced, and others. The supply chain of aerospace composite components manufacturing is complex but composite manufactures ensure uninterrupted supply of these materials in different parts of the world despite multiple challenges and complexity.
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Exploring the Usage of Composites in Various Aerospace Components
Aerospace Composites are rapidly expanding their presence in the aerospace industry. Given the benefits of flexibility in design, superior strength, and low- weight, aircraft manufacturers are exploiting the applications of aerospace composites in unconventional components such as the blade of the engine. One such example is the blades of LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) engine in Airbus A320neo. Some manufacturers have also used composites in the seating material to make them light and durable. For instance, Expliseat, a French manufacturer of aerospace seats, has made an aircraft seat weighing just 4 Kg by the combination of titanium and composite material. It is the lightest seat to withstand the crash test and is reported to save fuel of around USD 400,000 a year in each B737 and A320.
Rising Performance Requirements in the Aircraft is driving the growth of Composites
The aerospace industry has been long known for its low combined net income margin typically around 2-3%. Boeing revolutionized the aerospace industry by the introduction of 787 Dreamliner in 2011, which is made of more than 50% composites and sold the dream of the profitable airline business. This aircraft offers around 20% fuel saving over its predecessor 767. Later airbus also introduced its A350 XWB with similar composite content and fuel-saving claims. Moreover, the aerospace industry is rapidly expanding its footprint in developing economies of the Asia-Pacific. To support and ensure proper growth of the aerospace composites market in these countries, airliners have to offer lucrative offers and relatively low price services to the local customers. Composite has significantly helped airliners to sustain and grow their business in these emerging economies by saving in the fuel prices along with other benefits. Furthermore, the high performance required in military aircraft has also increased the consumption of composites in military aircraft. Fighter aircrafts such as F16, Gripen JAS39, Eurofighter, Mirage 2000, Rafael, and numerous other modern fighters have a healthy proportion of aerospace composites in them, the form of varied aircraft components that make them high performing with low operating costs per hour.
The Flexibility in Design Offered by Composites is Giving Manufacturers Space
Aluminum Sheets have been used for a long time in the production of aircraft due to their tough, durable, easy availability and anti-corrosive nature. But, the metal has its limitation and aerospace composites play an important role in confronting these limitations by replacing or supplementing the metal in aircraft. Composite structures require less maintenance as compared to their aluminum counterparts as per Boeing’s research. For instance, the tail of B777, which is made of composite and is 25% larger than the tail of B767 made of aluminum, requires 35% fewer man-hours in maintenance. Furthermore, composite material is easy to bend and can be transformed into various shapes which, on the other hand, would have required joints and machining in the case of aluminum. This ensures a significant improvement in design and efficiency as compared to aluminum design. This also facilitates the reduction in the number of heavy fasteners and joints, which are potential failure points. Aircraft composites are thus offering better and one-piece designs in aircraft wherever possible.
High Cost of Composites along with other factors such as safety constrains is restraining the market growth.
Aerospace Composites are significantly costlier than aluminum, which further increases the initial cost of the aircraft. Moreover, it is both expensive and difficult to repair composites which in turn can hamper the overall market.
The defects in the composite structures have to be detected with specialized & expensive equipment. Further, inspectors have to be specially trained to analyze any defect in the composite structures of the aircraft and this adds to the maintenance cost along with other tooling costs such as rivet gun, bucking bars, and epoxy resin. Fire & Safety issues in the aerospace industry are of the highest priority. The epoxy resin used in the composites has to be properly selected and formulated so that they don’t allow propagation of fire in case of a fire outbreak. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had to re-evaluate the flammability of composites used in Boeing 787 Dreamliner after fire issues raised in the aircraft in 2013, which temporarily brought the entire fleet of 787 on the ground. Moreover, aerospace composites are less preferred in long-haul flights due to safety and durability issues and this restricts its market growth. Additionally, with the development of alloys such as titanium aluminide (TiAl) and aluminum lithium (Al-Li), metals are making a return in the aerospace industry thus confining the expansion of this market.
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The versatility of Carbon Fibers ensures the dominance of the Carbon segment in the market.
Carbon fiber is reinforced in an adequate resin system to make an effective composite system. Some of the exceptional properties of carbon fiber that increases its popularity in the aerospace composites industry include low thermal expansion, high chemical resistance, high stiffness, low-weight, high tensile strength and high-temperature tolerance. In the commercial aerospace segment, the use of carbon fiber began with the introduction of a rudder made of carbon fiber composite in Airbus A300 and A310 in 1983. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) accounts for around four-fifths of the global aerospace composites market share. It is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period owing to the healthy consumption in the aerospace industry. For instance, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus 350 are made up to 52% by CFRP and both the aircraft have a long list of deliveries in the upcoming years. Boeing has more than 900 Dreamliner in the list whereas Airbus A350 has over 800 orders to deliver.
Commercial Airlines ensure healthy adoption & growth of composites in the Aerospace Industry
Commercial aerospace segment dominates the aerospace composites market accounting for less than two-third of the market. The commercial aerospace segment is expected to maintain its position owing to significant developments in the civilian aerospace segment as well as the renewal of retiring fleet. Boeing has already built 945 Dreamliner as of January 2020 and is yet to deliver more than 900 Dreamliner to its clients in the upcoming years. Airbus, on the other hand, has built over 349 A350 and about more than 800 orders are still on the list. Moreover, with the spur in demand for midsize commercial aircraft and the success of composite being used in the construction of these mid-sized aircraft, manufacturers are expected to come up with variant designs thus driving the aerospace composites industry. Furthermore, with the increasing adoption of composites in military aircraft, the market is expected to gain significant momentum over the forecast period.
North America Aerospace Composites Market Size, 2018 (USD Billion)
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North America leads the global market of aerospace composites strongly backed by the presence of major aircraft manufacturers and the availability of technological advancement required for manufacturing complex aerospace components in the region. For instance, out of four fuselage section of Boeing 787, two of them are manufactured in the United States (nose section in Kansa and rear section in Charleston), whereas one of the mid-section is manufactured by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan and two mid-section in Italy. All of these sections are assembled and joined in Everett, Washington, the United States.
Moreover, the United States owns the highest fleet of military aircraft in the world owing to the consumption of a significant amount of composites. Various US military aircraft that have healthy quantity of composites include B2 bomber, Gripen JAS39, F22 raptor, F16, AV-8B, F18 hornet, and others. Europe accounts for second-largest share in the aerospace composites market. Commercial, as well as military aircraft, are the prime consumers of aerospace composites in the region. Airbus is one of the largest customers of composites in the region majorly for its A350. It manufactures various components of the fuselage in France, Spain, and Germany. Dassault Aviation, BAE group (Airbus Group), Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, JSC Sukhoi Company, and others are some of major aerospace consumers in the military aircraft segment in the region.
Asia-Pacific is poised to grow rapidly in the upcoming years owing to fast expansion of the aerospace industry in the region. The demand for mid-sized commercial aircraft is significantly increased to support the growth of aerospace industry in emerging economies such as China & India. Furthermore, the rising military budget and expenditure on fighter jets in countries like India is also expected to create lucrative growth opportunities to the stakeholders in the market. Latin America and Middle East & Africa comprise of a relatively small market account i.e., a lower single-digit share in this global market. Countries such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, and others are under severe economic instability and political turmoil which is likely to hamper the market growth in Latin America region. Middle East & Africa is also expected to witness hindered growth over the forecast period due to civilian and economic crises such as the US-Iran conflict, Yemen Crises, Libya crises, and others.
Toray Advanced Composites Dominates the Aerospace Composites Market
After the successful acquisition of TenCate Advanced Composites in 2018 by Toray, the company announced a change of its name to Toray Advanced Composites in 2019. Toray is one of the largest suppliers of aerospace composites to the aerospace industry. The major customers of the company include global titans such as Boeing and Airbus. The company supplies various aerospace composites to a variety of customers that manufacturer various composite components such as seats, radomes, armor, and others.
The aerospace composites market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the current market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
An Infographic Representation of Aerospace Composites Market
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Volume (Tons) and Value (USD million)
By Fiber Type
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 14.66 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 29.69 billion by 2026.
In 2018, the market value stood at USD 14.66 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 9.27%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026).
The Carbon Fiber segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market during the forecast period.
Rising performance requirements in the aircrafts is driving the growth of this market.
North America held the dominant market share in 2018.
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