In 2017, the global aerospace composites market generated a value of $2,376.7 million and is predicted to attain a value of $4,234.4 million in 2023, advancing at a 10.1% CAGR during the forecast period (2018–2023). The market is growing due to the wide applications of composites in military aviation, expanding commercial aircraft fleet, and increasing requirement for carbon fiber composites in aircraft manufacturing. Composites are utilized in different aerospace applications such as nacelles, engine blades, brackets, and interiors, as they play a vital role in decreasing the weight of the aircraft.
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On the basis of type, the aerospace composites market is classified into aramid fiber, carbon fiber, glass fiber, and others (which include metal fibers and ceramic fibers). Out of these, the carbon fibers classification held the largest share of the market during the historical period (2013–2017) and is further projected to dominate the market during the forecast period, in terms of volume. This is due to the several beneficial properties of this composite, such as fire-resistance, heat-resistance, high stiffness, and exceptional load carrying properties, which are leading to its increased demand.
When aircraft type is taken into consideration, the aerospace composites market is categorized into military aircraft, commercial aircraft, civil helicopter, business & general aviation, and others (which include spacecraft that is designed to fly in outer space). Among these, the commercial aircraft category dominated the market during the historical period, in terms of value, which is ascribed to the large-scale production of commercial aircraft around the world. The civil helicopter category is expected to register the highest value CAGR of 11.1% CAGR during the forecast period.
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The expanding commercial aircraft fleet is a key driving factor of the aerospace composites market. As per the International Air Transport Association, the global aviation traffic is predicted to reach 7.8 billion passengers by 2036. This is ascribed to the growing travel & tourism industry, lower air fares, and improving living standards in developing countries, primarily Asian countries such as India and China. It is due to this swift growth in passenger traffic that the primary airlines across the world are investing for the expansion of their fleet size by ordering new aircraft.
Another major factor which is resulting in the growth of the aerospace composites market is the wide applications of composites in military aviation. While before the requirement for composite materials in military aviation was limited to the replacement of the metal parts of aircraft, composite materials are now being utilized for a majority of airframe structure of a military aircraft because of their high chemical, mechanical, and thermal strength. Glass and carbon fiber composites are the primarily utilized composite materials in military aircrafts.
The adoption of efficient productions process is a key trend in the aerospace composites market. At the present time, a large number of composites are manufactured by the autoclave process, which makes use of pressurized vessels at high temperature and pressure for manufacturing composite materials. However, this process takes a large amount of time, energy, and cost, which increases the overall cost of the composite material. The out of autoclave process is a more efficient composite manufacturing process that includes the manufacturing of composites within a closed mold through pressurizing and heating, without the use of autoclaves.
Hence, the market is witnessing growth due to the expansion of the commercial aircraft fleet and extensive applications of composites in military aviation.