Substantial efforts have been taken by gasoline-powered aircraft towbar makers for enhancing its reliability and ease-of-handling. However, these are deemed inefficient in offsetting the reliability of the relatively newer concept – electric aircraft towbars. Preference of airlines is currently witnessing a paradigm shift toward battery-powered electric aircraft towbars, to eliminate the routine maintenance requirements associated with their gasoline counterparts. With improvements in battery technologies, from low-density lead-acid to high energy lithium-ion with SiC films, the aviation industry is gradually leaning toward electric ground support equipment, thereby impacting adoption and production of electric aircraft towbar as a consequence. Key manufacturers in the aircraft towbar market have already introduced their electric towbar products, and some of the prime example include Lil Sherman and E200 (Aero-Tow), Nose-Dragger NDE-1 (Dragger), and ThunderVolt (PowerTow). These electric-based developments in aircraft towbars have further led end-users to shift their preferences toward these variants. As a result of these trends, electric towbars are expected to observe a 2X growth in sales than their gasoline-powered counterparts in the foreseeable future.
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IATA’s New Schedule for ISAGO Audits Likely to Boost Investments in GSE
Prevailing range of challenges, from productivity to design, faced by airlines with regard to ground support equipment (GSE), have recently led to a rise in requirement for multi-faceted approaches that include better safety audits, new technologies and improved staff training methods. Recognizing possible benefits linked with global standard for GSE policies & procedures, IATA introduced its Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) model in 2008. The organization has recently made a new schedule for the model, while retaining its previous goals of auditor training/qualification and efficiency, elimination of duplicate audits, and improved ground safety. IATA estimates that making improvements in ground safety and curtailing damages to aircraft, will eventually save US$ 4 billion annually, which in turn has led GSE manufacturers, including aircraft towbar makers, to make huge investments in equipment design and development. Additionally, the focus of aircraft GSE manufacturers is shifting toward optimization solutions that offer intelligence that extend beyond location & status of the equipment, which in turn is expected to favor development, and thereby growth of aircraft towbar market in the near future.
Shift From Towbar to Towbarless Likely to Limit Future Demand
Traditionally pervasive as a go-to-equipment to help tow aircrafts has several confinements associated with it, including time-intensive installation, cost-intensive staff training, high cost of the equipment, and limited speed. These challenges have led aircraft towbar manufacturers to join forces and come up with an advanced solution that offset the operational uncertainties apropos of towing aircrafts, which in turn has led the development of towbarless tugs. A prime example of such co-development is “eJP Towbarless Tug,” by the collaboration between Eagle Tugs and Tronair. The trend of towbarless is expected to significantly impede growth of the aircraft towbar market, as these new equipment enable operators to utilize zero-degree turning radius that results in precise positioning of aircraft with lesser space requirement for maneuverability.
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Maintenance Outsourcing by Airlines Remains a Key Revenue Stream for Equipment Manufacturers
Preventative maintenance persists as a vital aspect among aircraft ground support equipment (GSE) manufacturers, and this is no exception for towbar producing companies. Maintenance approach followed by aircraft towbar manufacturers is comprehensive, which involves procedures for all components, ranging from towbar body & head mechanism to lift mechanism & tow rings. Outsourcing these maintenance operations to specialty companies, such as FlyTek GSE, is a key industry trend that is a consequence of emphasis on minimizing downtime and repair costs through quality preventative maintenance. This has further built the customer confidence with regard to safety requirements of towbars, while offering them convenience of on-site trouble shooting and maintenance. Aircraft towbar manufacturers will continue to witness revenue benefits from these maintenance outsourcing activities in the upcoming years.
Airlines’ Emphasis on Operational Time Reduction to Create Demand
Air transport GSE services continue to witness the boons of growth in airport expansions worldwide. According to the IATA, over half of the global population is expected to opt for air travel by 2036, which in turn has led the airports to focus on high optimization and efficient utilization of GSE, such as aircraft towbar, and relevant workforce. Traditionally employed aircraft towbars are being replaced with advanced ones, to offset decreased time of service per flight resulting from high rate of air traffic and low rate of airport expansion activities. For example, aircraft towbars are witnessing a shift in demand from multi-head to universal, as well as from the conventional gasoline-based to electric variants, to resolve bottlenecks and delays in processes, and reduce operational costs in return. Such inclination toward efficient and effective GSE will bolster future developments and demand for aircraft towbars.
Fact.MR’s report on the aircraft towbar market offers holistic intelligence on demand and supply trends of aircraft towbar worldwide, along with an in-depth assessment on the aircraft towbar market’s competitive landscape. Comprehensive data on prominent as well as emerging aircraft towbar manufacturers has been offered, along with analysis on their company overview, product overview, key financials and key developments. Key aircraft towbar market players profiled in the report include Tronair, Brackett Aircraft Company Inc., K&M Airporttechnik, Techman-Head Group, and others.
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