Commercial Aircraft Landing Gear Market
Over the years, there is an increase in aircraft orders from various airlines around the world. This is primarily due to an increase in the number of passengers opting for air travel. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the air passenger traffic globally in 2020, by reducing the air travel demand, dampening the flight activity, and impacting the airline cash flows. The reduced flight activity in 2020 has led to a reduction in the demand for landing gear MRO. On the other hand, though several airlines have deferred their commercial aircraft orders, the large-scale backlog with the aircraft OEMs is expected to generate the demand for landing gear manufacturing during the forecast period.
Aircraft manufacturers are focusing on the weight reduction of the aircraft as it enhances fuel efficiency and increases the profits for the airlines. Correspondingly, there is a growing demand for lightweight landing gear systems, which is forcing the manufacturers to adopt new technologies and materials for developing the landing gear assemblies. At the same time, with the growing adoption of electrical systems in aviation, major landing gear OEMs are replacing hydraulic systems with electrical systems, in order to enhance performance, while reducing weight.
The introduction of new aircraft models in the aviation industry is expected to push the landing gear manufacturers to invest in newer technologies and develop sophisticated landing gear systems. The focus is currently on areas like corrosion resistance, noise reduction, additive manufacturing, use of composites and other materials for weight reduction, shift toward electric architecture, integration of various types of sensors, among others. Technological advancement will support the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Main Landing Gear Segment Held the Largest Market Share in 2020
In segmentation by landing gear type, the main landing gear segment held the largest market share in 2020. The main landing gear bears the whole weight of the aircraft, during the first impact. Hence, the number of tires used in them are more compared to the nose landing gears. Also, the manufacturing of the main landing gear involves more costs due to a higher number of parts, compared to the nose landing gears. Thus, the revenues from this segment are more compared to the nose landing gears segment. Wide-body aircraft and large freighter aircraft are the main revenue generators for the segment, as they require large main landing gear equipment to support the weight of the aircraft. The cost of purchasing a new landing gear, MRO, and aftermarket costs for the multi-bogey landing gear used in wide-body aircraft is high. For instance, in the A380, the worldâ€™s largest commercial aircraft, the main landing gear consists of 20 wheels on a whole. The main landing gear assembly of the aircraft is the largest and most complex ever developed for a commercial aircraft. Thus the cost per unit landing gear assembly of main landing gear is higher due to a larger number of subsystems involved, resulting in higher revenues for the segment.
Asia-Pacific Region is Expected to Grow with the Highest CAGR During the Forecast Period
The growth of the commercial aviation industry is projected to be the highest in the Asia-Pacific region. With a high passenger traffic growth, several airlines in the region have ordered new commercial aircraft in recent years. A major portion of the deliveries of commercial aircraft is expected to be in the Asia-Pacific region during the forecast period. Correspondingly, the demand for new commercial aircraft landing gear is also expected to be highest from the Asia-Pacific in the years to come. China's commercial aviation sector has made great strides in the past five years and further improvements are expected in the coming years. China crossed the United States to become the largest aviation market in 2020. Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer, COMAC, has launched the ARJ21 aircraft in 2015 and is planning to make the first delivery of C919 in 2021. Liebherr LAMC Aviation Co. Ltd is the supplier of landing gear for the ARJ21 program and also home to the assembly line for C919 landing gear struts. The growing fleet size in China has also generated significant demand for MRO services in the country. On the other hand, as of 2019, India was the second-fastest growing aviation market in the Asia-Pacific region. The international and domestic air passenger traffic in India had more than doubled between 2010 to 2019. The increasing air passenger traffic forced some of the airlines in India to expand their fleet size. Currently, the Indian airlines are operating domestic flights at around 80% of their pre-COVID levels and are expected to reach their pre-COVID levels by March 2021. Airlines in India are mostly dependent on foreign MRO players for landing gear MRO services. With the construction of new regional and international airports in the coming years and the growth in fleet size, there is a huge potential for the commercial aircraft landing gear MRO market to grow in the country. In addition to China and India, the aviation industries in several other countries in the region are also expected to recover faster than the countries in other regions due to a large domestic demand, thereby helping the growth of the related commercial aircraft landing gear market in the years to come.
The market for commercial aircraft landing gear is highly fragmented, due to the presence of many MRO players in the market. The market includes landing gear system suppliers, component providers, landing gear integrators, and MRO providers. Safran SA, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Honeywell International Inc., AAR Corporation, and Meggitt PLC are some of the prominent players in the market. With the forecasted trend for growth in the market for landing gear (and related equipment) in the coming years, companies are expanding their production capacities and capabilities to cater to the demand. For instance, in February 2020, Collins Aerospace Systems announced its plan to construct a new landing systems facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and to expand its carbon brake manufacturing facility in Spokane, Washington. The expansion of its carbon brake manufacturing facility in Pueblo, Colorado, is currently underway. Landing gear suppliers are also investing in the research and development of advanced lightweight landing gear systems, to increase the fuel efficiency of aircraft, as well as noise-reducing devices and electric landing gear systems (to reduce carbon emissions of aircraft). SPP, in collaboration with JAXA, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, is involved in FQUROH (flight demonstration of quiet technology to reduce noise from high-lift configurations), which aims to design and manufacture noise reduction devices attached to the main landing gear. Landing gear manufacturers and assemblers are entering partnerships and collaborations with each other to increase their maintenance and support capabilities and to serve customers in new geographical locations. In addition to the efforts of manufacturers and assemblers, MRO providers are also actively investing in the enhancement of their presence in the market, by constructing new landing gear maintenance facilities and entering long-term partnerships with airlines and aircraft operators. Such investments are expected to propel the growth prospects of companies in the coming years.
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