The global ground support equipment market size was valued at USD 14875 million in 2021 and is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 27117 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period (2022 - 2030). The purpose of ground support equipment (GSE) is to assist an aircraft's operations while it is at the airport. GSE includes powering, towing, and servicing items such as airplane pushback and hook-up, forklifts and lifts, carts, vehicles, air-conditioning tugs, belt & container loaders, and light-duty trucks. Such equipment also enables handling passengers, handling bags, moving planes, and performing repairs, services, and maintenance. Many airlines have full-service leasing from equipment management companies or own and maintain GSE.
High service standards, growth in airport focus on improving operational efficiency, rising air traffic and cargo, and leasing of ground support equipment are some factors driving the market for ground support equipment. Additionally, the increased emphasis on purchasing greener GSE, outsourcing MRO to a third party, and emerging wireless technologies all present good growth potential for the market.
Increase in Air Traffic and Cargo
Worldwide, there has been a noticeable growth in the number of passengers and cargo flights. Additionally, it is anticipated that this growth will continue throughout the forecast period, increasing the likelihood that airports may adopt advanced GSE. For instance, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that 52.2 million metric tons of cargo were moved in 2015 and that this amount will rise over the following five years at a CAGR of 4.1%. Additionally, the number of air travelers might double to 8.2 billion by the end of 2037, according to IATA's 20-year air passenger prediction. The market is anticipated to develop as a result of this. Therefore, the demand for ground support equipment has increased due to passenger and cargo numbers.
The Rise in Focus of Airports on Enhancing Operational Efficiency
Airports are undertaking significant upgrades to improve operational effectiveness and shorten turnaround times. The introduction of subsurface GSE has accelerated operations and eased airport equipment congestion. To increase operational effectiveness overall, many tools are being created. For instance, airports throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have been using the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) tool since June 2019 to improve operational efficiency. By enhancing planning quality and raising situational awareness, which is based on real-time information exchange, Airport-CDM promotes operational predictability.
Increasing operational efficiency has the advantage of lowering operating costs and raising profit. Therefore, having reliable ground support equipment is crucial for airport officials. This fuels the market's expansion.
High Initial Investment
A great deal of capital expenditure is required to deploy ground support equipment. For instance, on May 2017, Air India SATS Airport Services invested $0.77 million in India's first automated aircraft cleaning machine. This automated aircraft exterior cleaning system would be installed at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), New Delhi, and carried out by Nordic Dino II, an automated purpose-built system. In addition, it would be challenging for players with constrained working capital and tight margins. Moreover, it involves a considerable maintenance cost, which is expected to hamper the growth of the global ground support equipment market.
Increased Focus towards Procurement of Greener GSE
A clean and green environment is the need of the hour. Authorities presently focus on the procurement of greener GSE that conforms to the stringent emission norms imposed by governments. Greener GSE would ensure a reduction in the carbon footprint. Using power coating paint instead of liquid painted GSE, manufacturing design equipment that can be folded or taken apart to maximize shipping size, use of electric vehicles, and recycling equipment are examples of how airports can focus on greener GSE. Massive investments in research & development are made to accomplish the same.
By type, the global GSE market is segmented into powered and non-powered GSE segments. The powered GSE segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period. Powered ground support includes refuelers, ground power equipment, tugs & tractors, portable water trucks, generators, baggage conveyor/belt loader, passenger buses, catering trucks, passenger boarding stairs, air compressors, portable floodlights, air conditioners, container loaders, lavatory service vehicles, and de-icing vehicles. Deployment of energy-efficient ground support equipment drives the market for powered GSE. For instance, Plug Power, Inc. — a leading provider of reliable & clean energy products—installed GenFuel hydrogen infrastructure for GSE at the Memphis Airport, U.S. The byproducts of hydrogen fuel cells are just heat and water that is not harmful to the environment.
The non-powered GSE segment is the second largest. Some non-powered equipment includes chocks, baggage carts, trestles, intake exhaust covers, oil carts, air carts, dollies, sling cables, ladders, and aircraft jacks. Non-powered GSE is operated either manually or connected to a powered GSE. The ease of installation and requirement of much lesser maintenance have driven the non-powered equipment market.
By application, the global GSE market is segmented into aircraft handling, passenger handling, and cargo handling. The aircraft handling segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period. GSE used for aircraft handling are deicers, fuel trucks, ground power units, pre-conditioned air (PCA) units, and hydrant trucks. Aircraft handling is the servicing of an aircraft while it is parked at a terminal gate of an airport. It addresses the service requirements of an aircraft from its arrival at the terminal entrance to departure. The rise in the number of aircrafts and frequency of flights worldwide drives the market for aircraft handling. Furthermore, outsourcing of GSE among airlines and significant advancements and investments in efficient GSE is expected to drive the growth of this market. Quick provision of services to reduce the turnaround time propels the overall market growth.
The passenger handling segment is the second largest. GSEs used for passenger handling are belt loaders/conveyors, cabin service vehicles, boarding stairs, lavatory service vehicles, and passenger buses. The surge in travelers has boosted the market growth of passenger ground support handling. Further, the growing aged population has supplemented the development of this market. Accessary was the world’s first company to develop a wheelchair lift system designed on a telescopic stair for better serving the passengers. The growth in lightweight equipment for enhanced mobility and time convenience drives the market growth.
The cargo handling segment is the third largest. The cargo/container loaders, pushback tractors, and forklifts are GSEs used for cargo handling. Growth in the shipping & logistics industry has been a significant driver in the cargo handling equipment market. Further, loose gears made of rope are ideal for hoisting robust packages, including bagged cargo or wooden cases, which do not get damaged or sagged when raised, supplementing the market growth of cargo handling. Among all other cargo, containers are the most often transported cargo worldwide. The emergence of fire-resistant cargo containers is highly opportunistic for market growth.
Based on power sources, the global GSE market is segmented into electric, non-electric, and hybrid. The non-electric segment was the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period. Non-electric ground support equipment includes ICE and generally consumes conventional energy sources such as petrol, diesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG). Non-electric GSE has wider adoption across the globe as they operate on traditional energy sources. The non-electric GSE segment leads the market owing to the ongoing airport project and increasing number of aircraft transport in developing countries from the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. However, the scenario es expected to change in the near future, and the market is likely to shift to e-mobility solutions.
The electric segment is the second largest. Electric ground support equipment (e-GSE) have no internal combustion engine (ICE) and is eco-friendly. Most players such as Charlotte, TLD, Lektro, Jetporter, TUG Technologies, Eagle, Hercules, and Charlotte offer electric GSVs such as pushbacks, belt loaders, container loaders, luggage tugs, lavatory trucks, water trucks, and more. Factors such as low-end torque and efficient frequent start/stop, idle time, and short required ranges are opportunistic for the market expansion of electric ground support equipment. Key players in this segment are featuring a new product lineup to cater to the needs of the future e-mobility. For instance, companies such as Charlotte, TLD, Lektro, Jetporter, TUG Technologies, and Eagle offer electric pushbacks. In addition, Charlotte, TLD, and Hercules offer electric belt loaders.
The hybrid segment is the third largest. A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses a mixture of both the traditional source of fuel and electricity to power its motor engine. This is carried out with the amalgamation of two complementary drive systems: a gas engine with a fuel tank and an electric motor with a battery. Both the drive systems in the vehicle can be operated simultaneously. The hybrid-powered vehicle cannot be recharged through a power grid and depends entirely on regenerative braking technology. The hybrid GSE market is expected to grow significantly in upcoming years, owing to the rise in adoption of the green airport concept in commercial airports.
North America was the highest revenue contributor and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6%. The North America region includes countries such as the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. North America is the leading manufacturer of GSE, with most companies shipping equipment overseas to Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and other regions. North America has focused more on eco-friendly ground support equipment by converting GSE fleets to electrical and reducing carbon footprints. U.S is the leader in the GSE market, and the majority of key players, such as JBT Corporation and Tug Technologies Corporation, are from the U.S. Environmental standards in the U.S. have become stringent. Further, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiatives such as VALE (Voluntary Airport Low-Emission) and ARB (California Air Resources Board) give importance to the production of quality products and the use of scientific technology with the support of R&D to reduce carbon footprint. All such factors contribute to market growth.
Asia-Pacific is the second largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 7585 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period. The Asia-pacific region includes countries such as China, Japan, India, Australia, and the rest of Asia-Pacific countries. The Asia-Pacific GSE market is expected to flourish at a high rate in the coming years, owing to increasing air traffic (with a year-on-year growth of 3 to 7%) and an increase in air cargo transportation in 2019. There is also a significant increase in tourism in the region, which is anticipated to boost the aviation industry, propelling the market growth. China built 74 new civil transport airports in 2020, according to the Civil Aviation Development 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020). Therefore, there is a massive opportunity for GSE makers and suppliers to accommodate the needs of these airports. Moreover, many local governments also provide special subsidies or land benefits to aviation-related manufacturing projects and businesses.
Europe is the third largest region. Europe includes the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, and the Rest of Europe. Europe has seen an increase in ground support equipment demand since 2018. An increase in air traffic due to the introduction of low-cost carriers and improvement in the economy has triggered the use of innovative and efficient ground support equipment. Countries like Germany and France, which have advanced R&D, are looking for innovation and modernization of GSE products. London Heathrow Airport is Europe’s busiest airport, with the total number of passengers increasing by 1% year-on-year. Passenger handling is one of the most challenging tasks in such cases and requires innovative and efficient ground support equipment, propelling the market growth.
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