Market Overview

The aircraft electrical systems market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of more than 3% during the forecast period. An aircraft is a sophisticated assembly of electrical subsystems and components working in tandem to achieve desired flight parameters. An aircraft electrical system constitutes four essential sub-systems, namely power generation, distribution, conversion, and storage. These subsystems are comprised of several electrical components that help generate and conduct electrical power to all systems across the length of the aircraft.

  • The emergence of the more-electric aircraft concept has revolutionized the electrical power architecture of a conventional aircraft. The more-electric architecture offers improved fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance costs, and improved reliability by the use of modern power electronics and fewer hydraulic and pneumatic components in the engine installation. Furthermore, short-range more-electric aircraft are anticipated to become viable during the upcoming period.
  • The introduction of innovative power electronics systems and installation of the Electrical Thrust Reverser Actuation System (ETRAS) and Electrical Braking Actuation Controller (EBAC) has led to the integration of advanced electrical systems to ensure effective control.

Scope of the Report

To provide a comprehensive qualitative outlook, the aircraft electrical systems market considers the different players that offer either or all of the following components: primary generators, auxiliary power units (APUs) and starter generators, distribution buses, remote power distribution assembly, power conversion units, and aircraft batteries.

The scope of the study includes commercial, military, and general aviation aircraft. Market estimates are inclusive of only the line-fit aspect of the aircraft electrical systems market. Dominant market players have been selected based on their association with prominent aircraft programs for different aviation platforms.

Key Market Trends

Commercial Segment to Account for the Highest Market Share due to High Number of Aircraft Deliveries

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 newer generation aircraft. In 2018, around 1,830 commercial aircraft were delivered to several airline operators across the globe. Aircraft OEMs are continuously ramping their production capabilities to ensure on-time delivery to the airlines. Several new orders have been placed during 2019 which has encouraged associated electrical system manufacturers and integrators 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 an additional 10 units of A321 XLRs, worth USD 1.4 billion.
  • In September 2019, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines placed a USD 751 million order for two B777-300ER aircraft. Collins Aerospace (UTC) provides the integrated drive generators and generator control units for the B777 family, while Ontic provides the integrated AC and DC motors.
  • In October 2019, Spirit Airlines and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to purchase 100 A320s. The airline has an outstanding order for 55 A320neos, scheduled to be delivered by 2021. The A320 family features power distribution equipment from Collins Aerospace (UTC), while Meggitt PLC supplies the AC power converter, and Safran SA is the sole supplier for the integrated APU generator.

Several commercial operators are also considering fleet expansion as part of their operational scaling strategies. For instance, Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways plans to order around 22-25 narrowbody aircraft in early 2020. Such procurement orders would drive the business prospects of the market players during the forecast period.

Favorable Market Outlook in Asia-Pacific

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. By 2025, China is expected to become the world’s largest aviation market in terms of air traffic, while India is expected to develop into the world’s third-largest aviation market, by 2030. Other countries such as Indonesia and Thailand are anticipated to enter the top 10 global markets over the next decade.

In 2018, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for around 24% of the global military expenditure. The defense spending was directly influenced by the ongoing geopolitical rift in the region and was majorly driven by the race for achieving technological superiority over other countries. Military aviation in the region is also evolving due to the increase in defense spendings from emerging economies, such as China and India. In 2018, China recorded a straight 11-year increase in annual military expenditure. During 2018, the country’s annual military expenditure accounted for 49% of the total defense expenditure in the Asia-Pacific region. China has indigenously developed the J-20, while India has made tremendous progress with the Tejas LCA. Such developments have driven the business prospects of the electric systems manufacturers and integrators in the region.

Competitive Landscape

The aircraft electrical systems market is fragmented and has been witnessing the emergence of several regional Tier 1 & 2 market players that provide full lifecycle support, ranging from conceptual design, testing, and regulatory compliance certification. Hence, leading market players such as Safran SA, Honeywell International Inc., United Technologies Corporation, GE, Meggitt PLC, and Thales Group combine value engineering techniques, and design automation expertise to design cost-effective next-generation aircraft electrical systems. Since the design of each commercial aircraft family is moderately different from the other, an integrated electric system should be modular to allow for provisions for altering the connection layout for ensuring compatibility. In military aviation, the electrical architecture of an aircraft may be totally different from another and is highly dependent on the mission profile. For instance, an ISR aircraft would have provisions for integrating additional equipment, while a fighter aircraft would focus on integrating more weapon systems. This presents a design challenge for electrical system manufacturers and may expose the market players to financial risks owing to the high R&D expenditure divested towards designing advanced electrical systems.

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