Towbarless Aircraft Tugs Sales to be 2X Larger than Conventional Variants in 2018, finds Fact.MR


The aircraft tugs market continues on an impressive trajectory, with global sales estimated to increase by nearly 400 units in 2018 over 2017, according to a recently published Fact.MR study. A combination of several factors, ranging from rising procurement costs to concerns regarding ground support inefficiency, influence growth of the aircraft tugs market.

The study foresees sales of towbarless aircraft tugs to be approximately 2X greater than their conventional/towbar variants. This is mainly because leading companies have been shifting their focus to towbarless aircraft tugs, which in turn has led conventional tugs to soon approach a phase of redundancy.

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Ambiguities in operational efficiency and hazards associated with the conventional aircraft tugs have further spurred sales of towbarless aircraft tugs. Key aircraft tugs market players are also making significant investment in remotely-controlled equipment to attain higher ROI and offset security barriers apropos of conventional fuel-based counterparts.

Aircraft Tugs with 151-260 Tons Handling Capacity to Remain Top-Seller

Sensing varied requirements of end-users, manufacturers have introduced aircraft tugs with different handling capacities ranging from up to 50 tons to more than 260 tons. Gains are expected to remain largest from the aircraft tugs with 151-260 tons handling capacity- global sales estimated at nearly 2,900 units in 2018. Aircraft tugs market growth will also be complemented by steady demand for aircraft tugs with 51-150 tons handling capacity.

Prevalence of diesel aircraft tugs continues to be the mainstay of airport operations, and Fact.MR study opines that these variants will remain sought-after in the market. In addition, electric aircraft tugs are gaining fast traction in the market. Enormous improvements in the productivity, environmental footprint, manpower, and efficiency are key factors that complement the market penetration of electric aircraft tugs. Additionally, the surge in towbar to towbarless trend has amplified the development and sales of electric aircraft tugs in the recent past.

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Civil Aircrafts Account for Nearly 5 in 10 Sales of Aircraft Tugs

According to the study, nearly 5 in 10 sales of aircraft tugs are sold for application in civil aircrafts. High demand for civil aircraft operations can be attributed to proliferation in air travel abreast increasing number of airport construction projects worldwide. Sales of aircraft tugs for executive jets are also expected to hold significant shares of the market, with global sales estimated at over 1,800 units in 2018.

“With congestion at airports becoming one of the key challenging area, airports are focusing on addressing the problem through expanding their airfields. Addition of runways will further add to complexity of air terminals, penalizing efficacy of operations by burdening the already intense human workload,” says a lead analyst at Fact.MR.

“Increasing environmental awareness and economic pressures have recently propelled development of new operation technologies. Self-driving aircraft tugs are expected to be the key focus area of ground service equipment manufacturers in the near future, which would address added complexity of the air terminal operations, increasing efficiency and curtailing human workload,” adds the analyst.

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Leading airports are joining forces for the development of remotely-operated aircraft tugs. A prime example of such partnership is the one between Lufthansa and Fraport, which has developed a remotely-controlled aircraft tug that is under co-testing at Frankfurt airport. Electromobility continues to permeate the airline industry, in the form of e-vehicles that are relatively compact than their conventional counterparts. Projects such as these will pave lucrative avenues for speedy ground handling services over the upcoming years.

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Fact.MR’s report offers a comprehensive analysis and forecast on the aircraft tugs market for the period between 2018 and 2027. The report foresees the aircraft tugs market to record an impressive CAGR of over 6% through 2027.

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