The Asia-Pacific aerospace composites market is expected to register a CAGR of over 5% during the forecast period.
- Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the world for aviation activities. With the air-passenger traffic growing rapidly and the airlines increasing their fleet size, the market for aerospace composites in the region is growing rapidly and the growth is expected to continue during the forecast period. In addition, in the military segment, several nations in the region are procuring newer generation aircraft which have a greater percentage of composites. This is also currently driving the market.
- Several new aircraft developed by the players in the region are being built with increasingly higher compositions of composite materials. Reduced maintenance longer design life, fewer parts, and reduced tooling and assembly costs are some of the reasons that are driving the adoption of the composites in aerospace manufacturing.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Use of Composites in Military Aircraft
The Military Aircraft segment is expected to be driven by the growth in the adoption of composites in various parts and components of the newer generation military aircraft. The composites used in military aircraft are lightweight, durable, and chemical and temperature resilient. An important use of composite materials is in the development of stealth aircraft that use radar-absorbing composite materials to form most of the aircraft’s structure. Carbon- and glass fiber-reinforced plastic laminates are used in Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in structures, like vertical stabilizer, tail, flaps, and wings’ skin that account for approximately 40% of the weight of the aircraft. On that note, Australia placed an order for a total of 72 F-35 aircraft for its military, out of which 13 aircraft were delivered to the country by 2019. Also, HAL Tejas, the indigenous fighter jet developed by India, consists of 45% composites (mostly carbon-epoxy) by weight in its airframe, which made the aircraft the lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class. As of May 2020, a total of 123 Tejas aircraft are being ordered by the Indian Armed forces in various configurations. Thus, the growing use of composites in the newer generation military aircraft and the increasing procurement of such aircraft are currently driving the growth of the military segment.
China Held the Largest Market Share in 2019
In segmentation by country, China held the largest share in the market as of 2019. Globally, China is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets. In 2019, commercial airports in China handled over 659 million passengers, compared to 611 million passengers in 2018, which demonstrates how the demand for air transport is increasing in the country. According to IATA, China is expected to become the world’s largest aviation market by 2022. The growth in the aviation market is generating demand for new aircraft by the carriers in China. As most of the newer generation aircraft use composites in various aircraft parts, the demand for the same is expected to increase. Air China, in July 2019, placed an order for 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The deliveries are scheduled between 2020-2022. Of the 20 aircraft, the airline has options for converting the last five to the larger A350-1000 variant. The A350 XWB family is built with over 70% advanced materials, combining carbon composites (53%) along with other composites. The country is also developing its composite component manufacturing capabilities. In June 2018, Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) announced that the T800 carbon fiber composite has been applied in a domestically-developed helicopter model for the first time. In addition, the first commercial deliveries of the Chinese aircraft, the COMAC C919 narrow-body twinjet airliner are expected in 2021 to China Eastern Airlines. Carbon composites are used in the critical center wing box, engine nacelles, and impulsion reversers in the aircraft. All these factors are expected to boost the market prospects of the country during the forecast period.
The prominent players in the market are Toray Industries Inc., Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites Inc., Hexcel Corporation, and TATA Advanced Materials Limited. As the aerospace component manufacturing is increasing in the Asia-Pacific region, local players are partnering with the aircraft OEMs for the indigenous development of components and parts of the aircraft, to reduce the overall manufacturing costs. This is opening new market opportunities for the local players in the region to grow in the market. Also, investments of companies into advanced composites for space-based applications may help them increase their market presence in the Asia-Pacific in the years to come.
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