Growing availability of aircraft tugs and their accessories in the aviation space, rising consumer preference for air travel, increasing focus on expansion of fleet size, especially in Asia Pacific, and rising number of manufacturing facilities, distributors, and suppliers in emerging countries are driving demand for aircraft tugs.
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Aircraft pushback tugs, which serve as towing equipment, are also expected to contribute to market growth. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, global sales of aircraft tugs declined in 2020 because of a slowdown in the aviation industry. However, the market is getting back on its feet gradually with things opening up.
Electric aircraft tugs are more reliable and easy to handle, leading to increased demand for them across regions. Growing concerns regarding emissions have shifted the focus towards the use of electric-powered ground vehicles. Improvements in battery technology, ranging from low-density lead-acid batteries to high-flux lithium ion batteries with SiC films, have led to the aviation industry’s gradual shift to electric ground support equipment such as electric towbarless tugs.
As per Fact.MR’s analysis, the global aircraft tugs market is expected to expand steadily at a CAGR of over 4% from 2021 to 2031.
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Key Takeaways from Market Study
- Demand for aircraft tugs is increasing with numerous new airports, new aircraft, and rising number of military aviation bases.
- Sales of electric aircraft tugs are increasing all over the world. The rising electrification trend as well as high demand for sustainability, zero emission, fuel efficiency, low operational cost, and reduction in maintenance efforts are driving demand.
- Gradual increase in raw material cost and tariff prices are some of the challenges impacting market growth.
- Asia Pacific and Europe hold a significant share in the global aircraft tugs market. In Europe and Asia Pacific, high disposable income combined with rise in population growth, high investments in aviation infrastructure, and increasing trend of partnerships and strategic collaborations in the aviation industry have led rising demand for aircraft tugs.
- Towbarless aircraft tugs are expected to hold around 70% market share by 2021.
- By aircraft type, aircraft tugs to be mostly used for civil aircraft and executive jets.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market was dented badly in 2020, and witnessed a growth of -14.7%.
- The market in India and China is expected to progress at around 5% CAGR each, while that in the U.S. and U.K. at around 4% CAGR each, through 2031.
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“Rising demand for electric aircraft tugs will have a positive impact on market growth over the coming years,’’ says a Fact.MR analyst.
Targeted Acquisitions and Mergers by Key Players
Key players such as Textron GSE and JBT Corporation are hinging their growth strategies on enhancing connectivity with a wide market outreach through targeted acquisitions so as to capture substantial market presence.
- In October 2016, Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. company, acquired Textron Sweden AB, the assets of Safeaero i Trelleborg AB. The acquisition of Safeaero enables Textron Specialized Vehicles to offer a complete line of equipment to meet GSE needs of towbarless aircraft pushbacks, conventional pushbacks, baggage, and cargo tractors.
- In January 2019, JBT Corporation signed an agreement to acquire LEKTRO, Inc., a privately-held manufacturer of electric aviation ground support equipment, based in Warrenton, Oregon. LEKTRO provides compelling offerings of commercial aviation ground support equipment through its range of products such as electric towbarless aircraft pushback tractors for narrow body and smaller aircraft.
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