Aircraft tow tractors are a crucial part of the airport ground support equipment. The main functions of the aircraft tow tractors include pushing back an aircraft from its gate, towing the aircraft between the gate and hangar, and towing for maintenance purposes. With increasing number of air travel passengers, the aircraft tow tractors market has been earning high traction in the recent times. The aircraft tow tractors are also designed for wide variety of aircraft including small regional aircraft as well as wide-bodied aircraft which is likely to complement the expansion of the market. Owing to reduced operational cost and improved operational efficiency, the aircraft tow tractors have gained high demand from airlines and ground handling companies.
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Government investments in increasing the number of airports in emerging economies of Asia Pacific along with higher production of aircrafts is considered to be the key factor accelerating growth of the aircraft tow tractors market. Manufacturers are focusing on the implementation of advanced technologies to develop aircraft tow tractors that are cost-efficient, more flexible, and make handling of airplanes faster and safer. Further, expansion of aviation industry has been envisaged to open new growth avenues and guide the future of aircraft tow tractors market.
Global Aircraft Tow Tractors Market: Snapshot
Huge aircraft can’t be moved by hand and should have a tractor or pull. Pushback tractors utilize a minimal design to fit under the nose of aircraft. For adequate traction the tractor needs to be strong and heavy, and most models can have additional stabilizer included. A usual tractor for big aircraft weighs around 54 tons (119,000 pounds) and has a pulling drawbar of 334 kN (75,000 lbf). Mostly the cabin of driver can be raised for better visibility when switching and brought down to fit below the aircraft. There are two kinds of pushback tractors: towbarless (TBL) and conventional.
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Makers of aircraft tow tractors are concentrating on creating improved aircraft towing vehicles given the surging demand from flying industry for higher security and unwavering quality aircraft tow tractors. Considering the fuel sparing factor of aircraft tow tractors, have been working to create nature friendly solution that prompted the advancement of aircraft tow tractors.
Manufacturers have created hybrid electric push back tractors that are a dependable and effective contrasting option to heavy duty diesel aircraft tow tractors to move aircrafts at the time of landing and before taking-off. Making of these tractors were started to meet duties to lessen the emission of carbon dioxide from the ground vehicles and aircrafts.
Aircraft Tow Tractors – A Strategic Move Towards Saving Aviation Fuel
Initially airplanes travelled from airport gates towards runways using their own fuel. However, this became uneconomical as this kind of taxing, based on the size of aircrafts and distance, results in consumption of about one metric ton of fuel used in aircrafts. This led to the development of high powered, diesel-electric aircraft tow tractors that are attached to the nose wheel of the aircraft to pull the plane towards runways. As a result, the aircraft need not have to run on its engines during the process, consecutively saving aviation fuel. This is anticipated to fuel the adoption of aircraft tow tractors worldwide.
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Higher Consumer Preference for Air Travel to Augment Growth of Aircraft Tow Tractors
Air travel continues to witness significant demand with increasing number of people opting for this mode of travel, be it business or leisure. According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), by 2036, around 7.8 billion passengers are expected to opt for air travel based on the 3.6 percent average CAGR that is being witnessed currently. However, this has a twofold impact, as increasing number of passengers has influenced higher production of aircrafts and at the same time, this is expected to pose challenges for the governments with respect to investments to meet the growing demand. Thus, the increasing number of airports and aircrafts have pushed the proliferation of aircraft tow tractors consecutively supporting the growth of the market during the period of assessment.
Future of Aircraft Tow Tractors Looks Promising in Developed Counties, Despite Initial Sluggishness
After a period of stagnation in 2016, aerospace sector is expected to witness steep growth. According to Oxford Economics, the industrial output of aerospace suppliers, especially in the United States, Japan and United Kingdom was sluggish in 2016 in value terms. However, in 2017, the output of aviation industry grew at a significant pace. For instance, a 2.9 percent growth in this sector was witnessed in Eurozone. Moreover, tis growth is expected to accelerate to 3.4 percent in2018 and anticipated to reach 3.5 percent in 2019. This has translated into increased expenditure on aircraft ground vehicles and equipment, and aircraft tow tractors are no exception.
Hybrids Complementing Environmental Sustainability
EPA (Environment Protection Act) has laid various norms and regulations regarding the carbon dioxide emissions from all types of vehicles in order to promote environment safety. Considering this protocol, manufacturers of aircraft tow tractors have developed hybrid electric push back tractors that are a reliable and efficient alternative to heavy duty diesel aircraft tow tractors to move aircrafts after landing and before taking-off. Manufacturing of these tractors were initiated to meet commitments to reduce the CO2 emissions from both aircrafts and ground vehicles. With this, manufacturers started developing advanced hybrid options thus spurring the traction of hybrid aircraft tow tractors during the assessment period.
High Demand for Safety and Reliability
Manufacturers of aircraft tow tractors are focusing on developing enhanced aircraft towing vehicles given the growing demand from aviation industry for higher safety and reliability aircraft tow tractors. Considering the fuel saving feature of aircraft tow tractors, key participants such as Siemens, Lufthansa LEOS, French TLD Group (a market leader in handling equipment used in airports), and Israel Aerospace Industries have been striving to develop environment friendly solutions that led to the development of aircraft tow tractors.
For instance, JBT has developed AgileAir – a diesel powered power cart for flight line and hangar support for military fighter aircrafts. It features computerized self diagnostics, enhanced power output options, reduced fuel consumption, enables ease in transportation and integrated bleed air and conditioned air combination.
Likewise, Siemens has developed a new diesel-electric aircraft tow tractor that can be controlled from the cockpit of the aircraft. TaxiBots, Siemens’s new innovation, saves fuel, extends maintenance intervals and eliminates noise. TaxiBots, owing to its enhanced efficiency has already been certified for Airbus 320 and this aircraft tow tractor is expected to safely pull around 70 percent of all the passenger plants across the globe. Moreover, aircraft tow tractors developed by Siemens feature powertrains that include electric motors, generators, converters and integration of software and electronics. Looking at the efficiency of TaxiBots, in 2017, the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the United States certified the tractor for Boeing 737. According to Lufthansa, at the Frankfurt Airport alone, these tractors facilitate saving of around 11,000 metric tons of aviation fuel each year. Such developments, in view of offering highly safe, durable, fuel efficient, fuel saving and reliable vehicles, are expected to boost the adoption of aircraft tractor vehicles in the coming years.
The report on aircraft tow tractors market includes analysis on key participants, their business scenarios, product developments and overall company overview. Siemens, JBT Aero, TLD Group, Eagle Tugs and Fresia SpA are few of the major participants. In addition, the report also covers analysis on emerging players in the aircraft tow tractors market.
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