The global aircraft docking systems market size was valued at USD 9,609 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 12,692 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 3.14% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
A docking system is used by both commercial and military aircraft to power docks during construction, upkeep, manufacture, repair, and painting. One of the most essential and significant equipments employed at the airplane bay is the aircraft docking system, which is used to sensitize the aircraft's component elements, including the engine, nose, tail, fuselage, and wings, and to offer a reliable and secure product. Different approaches to deal with the evolving technology in airplane docking systems include laser and visual aircraft docking systems.
Furthermore, global investments have been made in R&D departments to progress the technology needed to create new aircraft for travel, military missions, search and rescue efforts, and commuting. The goal is to produce advanced, high-tech, agile, and intelligent aircraft by reducing carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. The airplane docking system also offers valuable insights for modernizing existing aircraft to keep up with rapid technological advancements helping airline operators give better services, and is a great benefit.
Globally, air passenger traffic has been increasing significantly over the last couple of years. Factors such as decreasing airfares, rising per capita disposable incomes, especially in developing countries, and higher living standards have influenced this growth. There is a more critical requirement for new airplanes to manage the increasing passenger demand. For instance, in 2017, Airbus signed a USD 50 billion contract with Indigo Partners (US) to deliver 430 aircraft in one of the biggest deals in the history of commercial aviation.
With the increasing demand for new aircraft, there has been a significant demand for aircraft docking systems. A docking system is a vital component during the manufacturing and maintenance of an airplane. It facilitates aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, and painting operations by providing work platforms to the required areas of the aircraft to complete the work efficiently and quickly. Therefore, the increased air passenger traffic and demand for new aircraft will drive global growth during the forecast period.
In recent years, the aviation industry has been focusing on investing in aircraft maintenance fuelled by advancements in MRO equipment and machines. Favorable government policies, such as exemption from customs and countervailing duties, are expected to drive investments in aircraft MRO services. In addition, many companies are expanding their MRO facilities to increase capacity and start operations closer to their customers. They are also investing in systems and technologies to reduce turnaround times. This is because the process of aircraft maintenance is very time-consuming. Therefore, MRO service providers have to reduce turnaround time using various systems.
An aircraft docking system is one such system that helps reduce the time required for a worker to reach multiple parts of an aircraft to conduct MRO operations. Thus, the increased requirement for short turnaround time is expected to drive the global aircraft docking systems market growth during the forecast period.
Aircraft that are less in number, large in size, and different in design require custom aircraft docking systems to perform MRO, painting, or manufacturing operations. Aircraft such as A380, Beluga XL, and Antonov-225 are among the most significant aircraft that require custom docking systems. Building docking systems for such aircraft is a very challenging task and is also very complex and time-consuming, primarily due to the height and length of these aircraft.
Additionally, several MRO service companies employ specially designed docking systems adaptable to many aircraft types. The design of these systems is very complex and heavy. It requires a more significant number of skilled laborers to install these docking systems is expected to increase the turnaround time. Furthermore, the inspection and maintenance of these docking systems is also a very time-consuming task. Therefore, the complexity of customized solutions is expected to restrict the market's growth to some extent during the forecast period.
Systems such as automated docking guidance systems, fully automated docking systems, and self-propelled docking systems are safe, save time, and ensure sustainable maintenance for many aircraft types. Therefore, the demand for these systems has increased in the last few years. For instance, NIJL Aircraft Docking has developed a universal tail docking system, self-propelled with a height-adjustable vertical stabilizer floor and sliding panels to fit the contour for safe access. Moreover, the automated and self-propelled docking systems are suitable for many aircraft types, boosting demand. Therefore, the need for motorized and self-propelled docking systems is expected to create lucrative growth opportunities for the players operating in the global aircraft docking systems market during the forecast period.
The global aircraft docking systems market is segmented by type, platform, aircraft type, operation, and application.
Based on type, the global market is divided into nose docks, complete/combination docks, engine docks, fuselage docks, wing docks, and tail docks.
The fuselage docks segment is responsible for the largest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 2.66% over the forecast period. The fuselage dock consists of the leading platform, a work area covered by the primary work platform based on various aircraft types, which satisfies the requirements for C/D inspection and spray painting of aircraft for the front, rear, and upper wing-fuselage sections. The fuselage docks are explicitly designed to ease access to the fuselage. These docks have specially developed modules. These docks are usually combination docks with nose and wing docks.
Based on the platform, the global market is divided into commercial, military, and general aviation.
The commercial segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.35% during the forecast period. All non-military aircraft, such as commercial airliners, executive jets, and other private aircraft, are included in the commercial section. Although they have a smaller carrying capacity than wide-body aircraft in civil aviation, narrow-body aircraft are more common. Narrow-body aircraft include the Airbus A319, A320, A321, and Boeing B737s. These aircraft often travel over small distances. Due to increased air passenger traffic, these aircraft are in greater demand worldwide.
Aircraft manufacturers and MRO service providers are setting up MRO facilities worldwide and collaborating with several civil airline operators to provide aftermarket services. Furthermore, the increase in the number of air passengers and the amount of cargo transported by air requires timely aircraft maintenance, driving the global docking systems market and fueling innovations.
Based on aircraft type, the global market is segmented into rotary-wing and fixed-wing.
The fixed-wing segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.18% over the forecast period. Fixed-wing aircraft are equipped with wings as opposed to vertical lift rotors. Control surfaces control these aircraft, namely, the aileron, rudder, and elevator, integrated into the wing. Fixed-wing configuration offers various advantages, such as endurance, extensive area coverage, flight speed, and a more excellent passenger carrying capacity than rotary-wing aircraft. Thus, commercial airlines and military forces primarily use these aircraft for long-distance traveling. Moreover, the demand for fixed-wing aircraft is increasing globally due to a significant rise in air passenger traffic. Therefore, the increasing demand for fixed-wing aircraft is also expected to drive the growth of the global aircraft docking systems market.
Based on operation, the global market is divided into powered and non-powered.
The powered segment is the highest contributor to the market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.28% over the forecast period. Powered aircraft docking systems are height adjustable, with electrical panels controlling their movements and adjustments. The powered docking systems are primarily developed for aircraft nose, tail, engine, and wing and are used for a wide range of aircraft models. Moreover, the demand for automated and self-propelled docking systems has been rising for the last few years.
Based on application, the global market is segmented into aircraft manufacturing, aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO), and aircraft painting.
The aircraft manufacturing segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.0% for the forecast period. The aircraft docking systems reduce the time required to reach the various areas of the aircraft during manufacturing operations and help to reduce the time required for aircraft manufacturing. Moreover, due to increasing passenger traffic and defense expenditures, the demand for new aircraft has been growing over the last few years.
Based on region, the global aircraft docking systems market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant shareholder in the market and is expected to rise at a CAGR of 2.58% during the forecast period. The high demand for services from players in the US and Canada primarily drives the regional market growth. By the year 2035, it is anticipated that there will be 10,000 aircraft operating in the area, opening up new business opportunities for those involved in the North American airplane docking system market. Additionally, the expansion of the market is anticipated to be supported by the increasing profits of airlines with regional headquarters. For instance, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted that North American airlines would make net profits of USD 16.6 billion in 2019, up from USD 14.7 billion in 2018.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.44% over the forecast period. In Europe, the growth of the aircraft docking systems market is primarily driven by the UK, Germany, France, and Italy. In 2017, there were approximately 5,000 aircraft in the region, and it is expected to reach over 8,000 fleets by 2035. However, the pandemic is expected to reduce the air passenger traffic in the area, and airlines will witness substantial losses in 2020. According to IATA, European airlines are expected to lose USD 76 billion in passenger revenues in 2020 owing to travel restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19. Several regional airlines have also collapsed owing to a reduction in bookings. However, with enhanced medical facilities, government support, and credit facilities available, the situation is expected to improve over time. The region hosts many established companies, such as NIJL Aircraft Docking, ZARGES GmbH, and CTI Systems S.à r. l, and Instant UpRight, which offers aircraft docking systems for civil and commercial aviation industries. With the increased number of aircraft, there will likely be an increased requirement for aircraft docking systems.
Asia-Pacific is gaining prominence in the global aviation industry and is projected to become the world's leading market for air travel. According to Airbus SAS, more than 16,000 aircraft are expected to be delivered in Asia-Pacific by 2035, which is expected to boost the growth of the regional market. However, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is expected to hamper the development of the aircraft docking systems market in the region. According to IATA, the airlines in Asia-Pacific are expected to suffer an approximate 13% loss in passenger demand in 2020. However, the need to enhance passenger safety and continue rescue operations for citizens is likely to result in investments in aircraft maintenance by airline operators, increasing the demand for docking systems.
In Latin America, the market growth is significantly driven by major countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Uruguay. The region has witnessed notable economic growth in the past few years. One major factor driving the region's economy is increased air travel. The need for airplane docking systems is anticipated to rise significantly due to the rapidly growing number of aircraft in the area.
The Middle East and Africa region comprises the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Middle East and Africa. Increasing tourism in the region and the presence of prominent airlines such as the Emirates Group and Etihad Airways are driving market growth in the region. The airlines provide emergency services and deliver cargo to countries severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, increasing aircraft maintenance programs is also expected to drive regional market growth.
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