The global aerospace plastics market is estimated to reach US$10.5 bln by 2018 from US$6.2 bln in 2011, growing at a CAGR of 7.9%, as per Transparency Market Research. In terms of volume, the aerospace plastic consumption was 40.5 kilo tons in 2011, expected to reach 87.8 kilo tons in 2018, rising at a CAGR of 11.7% from 2012 to 2018. The commercial aircrafts end-user segment accounted for 72% of market share in 2011 followed by military aircrafts, rotary aircrafts, and general aviation planes end-user segments. Aerospace plastics market is categorized into six application segments. Fuselage was the key application segment that accounted for over 28% of market share in 2011. Wings, empennage, flight deck and cabin areas are a few other key application segments.
Aerospace plastic materials fall under the category of advanced composite materials often known for its efficient modulus of elasticity, heat/flame resistance, and other high-strength physical properties. These plastics are viable alternatives used in military, rotary, freighter planes, and general aviation planes as compared to other conventional materials including steel and aluminum and the inadequate benefits they offer for aviation performance. Aerospace plastics are extensively used for production of a broad range of aircrafts' components such as decks, cabins, empennages, cockpits, wings, airframes, rotor blades, and many more. Owing to their lightweight, yet state-of-the-art performance abilities, they are an ideal option leading to lowered production costs. Other achievements observed in the aerospace plastics market include excellent strength to weight ratio, stability in the growth of the aviation industry, and rise in the adoption of aerospace plastics in airplane designs. These are some of the poised value-driven factors boosting the growth of this market. Nevertheless, the Greenpeace and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations imposed on the production of aerospace composite materials are posing a challenge for this market. These organizations implicate that high percentage of greenhouse gases have been monitored at the time of the production of aerospace plastics, which have eventually led us to the harm's way, in terms of ozone layer depletion and other environmental problems. Furthermore, the high costs of raw materials, for instance PAN (Polyacrylonitrile) act as a barrier for the growth of this market too.
In terms of volume, Europe dominated the global aerospace plastics market that accounted for more than 43% of the overall market in 2011. In Europe, Germany, France, the UK and Spain were the key regional markets and together accounted for more than 75% of the European market. Europe is expected to dominate the aerospace plastics market for the next five years, owing to the supportive government policies and rising investments seen in Europe over the past three years. Some of the European public bodies such as ONERA, CNES, and CNRT are inventing new materials that are in turn attracting aircraft manufacturers in this region. The U.S. aerospace plastics market had grown at a steady rate even during economic slowdown, primarily due to reasonable demand in the airlines industry. Increased air traffic and substantial rise in the military budget have provided adequate growth impetus for the North American aerospace plastics market. Asia Pacific is expected to drive the aerospace plastics market chiefly due to low labor overheads and huge investments. In Asia Pacific, the military aircrafts end-user segment is expected to grow, owing to adequate financial support provided by the government. Some of the renowned key products of the aerospace plastics market include GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic), CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic), and ARP (Aramid Reinforced Plastic). These product types and its different features have enabled the use of aerospace plastics in military, commercial, rotary and other aircraft applications, and have also enhanced an easy adoption in aircraft design as another characteristic in the aviation industry. At present, the aerospace plastics constitutes 50% of the basic primary structures used in the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 commercial aircrafts. The implementation of aerospace plastics resources is likely to continue and increase in near future. Some of the key players supplying aerospace plastics include Hexcel Corporation, Mitsubishi Rayon, SGL Carbon, Toho Tenax, Toray Group and Zoltek Companies Inc.
The global aerospace plastics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.04% over the period 2013-2018. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the growth and development of the Aviation industry. The global market for aerospace plastics is expected to reach US$13.48 bln by 2020, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. These plastics are preferred substitutes for aluminum and steel in the aviation industry mainly because of high performance and low weight which results in better fuel efficiency. Increasing passenger traffic across emerging markets is expected to boost the demand for new aircraft which in turn would augment the demand for aerospace plastics. In addition, the market will be further augmented by emerging trends in composites and nanocomposites. However, the increasing fracture and failure issues could pose a challenge to the growth of this market. Airframe and fuselage was the largest application segment accounting for 14,356.3 tons of aerospace plastics demand in 2013. Aerospace plastics are extensively used in cabin areas application owing to high pressure resistance properties and accounted for over 12,400 tons of aerospace demand in 2013. Further key findings from the study suggest:
• Global aerospace plastics demand was 51,146.5 tons in 2013 and is expected to reach 112,503.1 tons by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 12.0% from 2014 to 2020.
• Europe was the largest regional market for aerospace plastics with revenue US$3.45 bln in 2013. The presence of large aircraft manufacturers coupled with significant number of aerospace OEM’s is expected to boost the demand for plastics in the region. In addition, the region is also expected to witness significant growth, at an estimated CAGR of 8% from 2014 to 2020.
• Military aircrafts are expected to witness fastest growth for plastics, at an estimated CAGR of 13.1% from 2014 to 2020, in terms of volume. Increasing security concerns worldwide are expected to drive demand in this segment.
• Commercial and freighter aircrafts were the largest end use segment in 2013 with plastic demand of 36,392.9 tons owing to increased number of passengers opting for air transport coupled with increasing number of service providers. This segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.1% from 2014 to 2020.