Global Commercial Aircraft Windows and Windshield Market Report Information by Aircraft Type (Wide Body and Narrow Body), by Purpose (Cabin Windows and Windshield), and by Regions – Forecast To 2023
Aircraft windows and windshields are designed to enable outside view, while also protecting passengers from external environment. Modern aircraft windows and windshields are designed on ‘fail-safe’ concept, such that the chances of complete window failure is minimized. The design consists of several layers of glass plies with interlayers between them. Windows also act as thermal insulators. In case of passenger cabin windows, the outer pane shields passengers from the cold external environment while the inner pane keeps humidity from condensing and frosting.
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Globally, the demand for commercial aircraft windows and windshields has been increasing, along with the increase in demand for aircraft. A majority of the global commercial aircraft windows and windshields revenue comes from the narrow-body commercial aircraft segment (for example, Airbus A320 and Boeing 737). Moreover, there has been a surge in demand for low-maintenance and improved aircraft windows and windshields. Continuous modifications into design and constructions of aircraft windows and windshields helps to enhance service life of parts and indirectly leads to lesser maintenance of parts.
For aircraft operators, the maintenance and repair cost associated with aircraft parts and components, constitute a major chunk of the operational cost. For example, the possibility of cracks around the bolt hole minimizes by the installation of thicker windows glass plies along with bushes. During repair and maintenance the thickness of the window get reduce. If this thickness of the window reduces beyond the described standard specifications then the windows can no longer be used in aircrafts. Thus, using thicker windows (however, preference to lightweight materials) increases the service life of the windows, as it allows for more number of repairs that can be performed without reaching the minimum threshold thickness for the window. In general, the aircraft window replacement cost itself can range from $2,000 to $300,000 depending on the aircraft type and window. Apart from the cost involved, aircraft windows maintenance and repair is a highly sophisticated task. The growing number of aircraft worldwide, along with new aircraft development programs, boosts the market for aircraft windows and windshields.
Majority of the existing fleet of aircraft consists of normal acrylic windows in the aircraft cabin. However, the trend has been slowly shifting towards the utilization of interactive and smart windows. For example, Boeing 787 Dreamliner has used dimmable windows, supplied by Gentex Corp. Dimmable windows allow passengers to enjoy the view without any annoying glare. Furthermore, a passenger can control the degree of shade to manage the amount of light entering the cabin. The development of lightweight materials for the aerospace industry has also been growing at a rapid pace. New materials are being utilized for aircraft windows and windshields to achieve increased durability, because they are more robust and lighter. However, acrylic is an oil-based product and the price in the market is affected by the rise and fluctuation in oil prices. Thus, price in the market may differ based on the time of order and the international market scenario. As a result, suppliers increase the price of their products and raw materials, which affects the cost of production for aircraft windows and windshields.
The global commercial aircraft windows and windshield market is expected to grow at a CAGR of above 4%, during the forecast period of 2017-2023.
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The North American and European countries, traditionally, hold a large market share for aviation-related industries. These regions have a strong aviation manufacturing base and large demand for OEM and aftermarket parts. The market is, however, slowly shifting with more demand coming from the APAC, Middle East, and the South American regions. With the strengthening of the economy in countries, such as China, India, Brazil, and South East Asian countries, the demand for air travel has grown rapidly in these regions. These emerging regions are among few of the largest markets for new aircraft fleet. To meet such growing demand and to maintain a competitive edge in the market, major OEMs and suppliers have further increased their manufacturing base and market presence in these regions.
The global demand for commercial aircraft windows and windshields is further stimulated by the new aircraft development programs. In order to fit the respective aircraft design configuration, new aircraft windows and windshields are developed. For example, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner opted for a comparatively larger window, which is roughly the size of a hand luggage (22 x 47 cm). Dreamliner’s windows are 30% larger than in other commercial passenger airliner of similar configuration. In a similar manner, other ongoing and planned aircraft development projects, such as Airbus A350 XWB, Airbus A330neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and Boeing 777X will further stimulate the market and demand for respective aircraft windows and windshields.
Major aircraft windows and windshields manufacturers, such as GKN Aerospace, have extended their distribution network to handle the growth in aircraft windows and windshields activity in Asia. As a major portion of the new aircraft deliveries in the next 20 years is expected to be from the APAC region, efficient and cost-effective product distribution for aircraft manufacturers and aircraft operators will be of key importance to suppliers. Thus, GKN Aerospace has formed an agreement with distribution partner, AJW Aviation, to maintain a full inventory of GKN Aerospace’s cabin windows and cockpit windows. Such strategic cooperation and inventory ensure operators with the availability of windows when required. This also lets operators reduce their internal airline inventories.
The key players in the global commercial windows and windshields market are Gentex (U.S.), GKN Aerospace (U.K), PPG Industries (U.S.), Lee Aerospace (U.S.), Saint-Gobain Sully (France), AIP Aerospace (U.S.), AJW Aviation (U.K), Nordam (U.S.), TBM Glass (U.S.), and Triumph(U.K).