The aircraft engine seals market was estimated at USD 0.32 billion in 2021 and is likely to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% during 2021-2026 to reach USD 0.5 billion in 2026.
Aircraft engines have immensely evolved throughout the journey of the aircraft industry as they play the most pivotal role in an aircraft. Most of the innovations happening in an aircraft engine are primarily targeting three areas: more power, more durability, and more efficiency. Almost all the engine systems and their components have had a disruptive journey with significant changes in design, technology, and materials. Seals are also not untouched by such market dynamics and have experienced significant changes in design and material over the period.
Seals are some of the most important components of an aircraft, used in countless applications throughout a plane – from exterior flaps to cockpit windshields. In addition, although they are just one small part of a modern aircraft, they are crucial to its operation – if they fail, they can compromise the entire plane’s performance.
The long-term growth prospects still seem favorable, credit goes to the strong market fundamentals (a huge pile of backlogs of Boeing, Airbus, and COMAC, expected increase in air passenger traffic, development of next-generation aircraft, etc.). LEAP engines are the sweet spots for the market. However, to align with the market condition, Safran/CFM has slashed its LEAP engine deliveries to 815 engines in 2020 from 1,736 engines in 2019. The company aims to recover the 2019 level of LEAP engine deliveries by 2024. With the expected recovery in 2021 due to the resumption of B737 Max, the two biggest aero-engine makers GE and Safran; aims to boost their revenues by unveiling lower-emission jet engines.
In the year 2020, the market witnessed its biggest decline in the past 16 years, mainly due to the rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aircraft industry was already under immense pressure due to several factors ceasing the market growth including the grounding of the B737 Max. The rapid spread of the pandemic further deteriorated the industry's health and severely affected the entire industry ecosystem including aircraft engine seals. As per the recent impact assessment of IATA, the total global passenger airline revenue plummeted by around US$ 418 billion in 2020 which was 66% below 2019’s revenue; with a decline of over 88% in international RPKs and 51% in domestic RPKs. However, the growth in the first half of 2021 is shaping the hope of recovery.
Global Aircraft Engine Seals Market Report Segments:
Based on the aircraft type, the aircraft engine seals market is segmented as commercial aircraft, regional aircraft, helicopters, and general aviation. Despite taking a nosedive in 2020, Commercial aircraft is expected to maintain its huge lead in the aircraft engine seals market in the foreseeable future. The year 2020 has experienced a massive decline in the
commercial aircraft segment, owing to several factors including the outbreak of coronavirus, the US-china trade war, and ongoing aerospace industry challenges such as the B737 max grounding, delays in B777x, C919, and MC-21 market entries, failure of Pratt & Whitney’s 1100 engines, and revised production rates of key aircraft programs (A350XWB). However, the long-term outlook still seems positive with a plethora of opportunities for the market participants. Both, Boeing and Airbus, are still hoping positive long-term market outlook. Boeing Outlook: 48,440 commercial and regional aircraft fleet by 2039 from 25,900 units in 2019, growing at a CAGR of 3.2%.
Based on the application type, the aircraft engine seals market is segmented as nacelle, oil & fuel systems, fan blade, combustion & exhaust section, and others. The nacelle is expected to remain the dominant application segment of the market over the next five years. Seals used in nacelles must comply with the ISO 2865 and AC 20-135 standards, which require them to resist flame and temperatures up to 1,100°C for at least 15 minutes. Fire seals are commonly used in nacelles, among the most challenging application areas of aircraft at present.
Based on the material type, the aircraft engine seals market is segmented as elastomer seals, thermoplastic seals, and metal seals. Elastomer seals are expected to remain the most dominant material type in the aircraft engine seals market and are also projected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period. The huge dominance of elastomers is because of their ability to contract 10 times more than steel along with increased flexibility in low temperatures. Metal seal is likely to experience the highest decline in the market in 2020 due to an increased demand for lightweight high-performance seals.
Analogously, the study’s outcome on different function types evinces that fire seals are the most dominant function type among fire seals, conductive & insulative seals, air & fluid handling, and others. Fire seals are commonly tested to ISO 2685 and AC20-125, which ensure whether seals can withstand a flame up to 1,100°C for at least fifteen minutes without getting destroyed. The development of high-thrust engines to enhance the performance of engines, such as fuel efficiency and noise reduction, is demanding for high-temperature-resistant fire seals in various sections of engines, such as fuel management and bleed air.
Based on the Motion type, the aircraft engine seals market is segmented as static seals and dynamic seals. The dynamic seals segment is expected to remain dominant as well as to be the faster-growing market segment during the forecast period. Dynamic seals play an important role in maintaining a balance among sealing forces, preventing leakage, and minimizing friction. This is expected to drive the dynamic seals market during the forecast period.
In terms of regions, North America is expected to remain the largest market for aircraft engine seals, whereas Asia-Pacific is expected to remain the fastest-growing market during the same period. Short-term market demand is challenging across regions including Asia-Pacific. Based on IATA estimates, the airline industry in the Asia-Pacific region has declined at least a rate of -61.9% in RPKs in 2020 from the 2019 level. The long-term market outlook seems promising. As per Boeing’s estimations (2020-2039), China will need 8,600 commercial and regional aircraft in the next twenty years, 6.3% higher than the company’s last year's forecast. 75% of these deliveries are to be of single-aisle aircraft.
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