Aerospace Plastics Market Set to Soar: 7.9% CAGR Forecast for the Coming Period
The global aerospace plastics market covers different types of plastics commonly used in the aerospace industry, including Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK), Polycarbonates (PC), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS) among others. Plastic is extensively used in the aerospace industry as it makes aircraft lighter, economical, and safer. Further, the rising adoption of plastic in the aerospace industry is not only for interiors but also for complicated technical parts, propulsion components, and structural elements.
Plastic materials have continued to shape aircraft manufacturing owing to their low weight, durability, and higher strength. Over 30 years, several aircraft manufacturers including, Boeing and Airbus, have integrated plastics into their manufacturing processes and are currently manufacturing almost half of the aircraft structures with composites. A composite material is produced from two or more plastics materials with different chemical and physical properties; it exhibits unique physical and chemical characteristics that traditional material cannot provide. For instance, plastics or composites are more durable than iron or steel and lighter than aluminum.
The aerospace industry has been shifting towards newly developed advanced lightweight and high strength materials, thus replacing traditional materials. This is owing to the goal of increasing fuel efficiency, reducing material consumption, and decreasing emissions. Every added pound to a plane weight consumes more energy to move, therefore increasing the cost. Integrating lightweight plastics into manufacturing enables manufacturers to reduce the weight of the aircraft and enhance technical flexibility and innovation. For instance, carbon fiber bearings installed in the horizontal tail are estimated to reduce weight by 50% and cost by 30%.
The aerospace plastics industry is considered one of the early adopters of advanced technologies worldwide, and additive manufacturing is no exception. Additive manufacturing enables the direct conversion of raw materials to complex 3D forms based on the input provided by computer-aided design files. Currently, aerospace and defense combined are the largest consumers of additive manufacturing owing to the rising adoption of 3D printing to manufacture aircraft from designing to produce complicated parts. Additionally, recent innovations enabled additive manufacturing to process various polymers, metals, and ceramic materials, which provides a high degree of flexibility on material choice for aircraft manufacturers.
The aviation industry is witnessing significant growth since the economic revolution in major emerging economies around the world. The aviation industry's growth is supported by the rising number of airports, stringent regulatory norms, and increasing passenger traffic and government spending on aviation. As per Airports Council International (ACI), over 17,678 commercial and civil airports are operational around the world. The number is expected to grow as the volume of international trade and travel increases. For instance, India plans to expand its overall airport numbers and invest over USD 60 billion to construct 100 new airports by 2035. Passenger traffic at the world's busiest airports such as O'Hare International Airport (U.S.), Ataturk International Airport (Turkey), grew by around 5% in 2017. Additionally, 2017 also witnessed an increase in total cargo (+7.9%), total international freight (+9.9%), and total aircraft movements (+2.4%) as compared to 2016.
Additionally, military and defense aircraft are expected to consume a significant amount of aerospace plastics during the forecast period. Although there has been a significant reduction in the overall share of the budget allotted for military expansion, the value of the investment for military spending has increased. For instance, the world military expenditure as a percentage of global GDP was accounted for 2.215% in 2016, and it was 2.178% in the year 2017. Additionally, military forces across the globe are upgrading their equipment and procuring new planes to aid in air-force warfare. These developments are expected to increase the number of military bases as well as the demand for aerospace plastics.
Geographically, the global aerospace plastics market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, Middle East, and Africa. North America dominates the global aerospace plastics market in terms of both revenue and volume. The North American aerospace market is further segmented into the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Owing to around 19,346 public and private airports and a vast number of military airbases, the U.S. is anticipated to be the key contributor to the aerospace plastics market.
The U.S. is the world's largest aviation industry and comprises different aircraft manufacturers, spare parts producers, and service providers, which ultimately augment the consumption of aerospace plastics in the country. Additionally, several redevelopment activities are underway for airports such as Los Angeles International Airport, JFK International Airport, Mexico City International Airport, among others, which is expected to boost the aerospace plastics market in this region.
Europe and the Asia-Pacific hold a significant share in the global aerospace plastics market. At the same time, Central and South America and the Caribbean, Middle East, and Africa are the least consumers of aerospace plastics.
Some of the prominent players in the global aerospace plastics market are
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