16 May 2016, Cambridge, UK: The adoption of carbon fibre in the next generation of narrow body aircraft platforms could potentially increase the carbon fibre commercial aerospace market to over US$2 billion by 2034, according to a new analysis released by Future Materials Group (FMG), the strategic advisory firm for the advanced materials sector.

FMG’s research and analysis team has explored the impact of potential future developments in the commercial aircraft sector on the carbon fibre industry. This in-depth study shows that future growth in wide body aircraft production alone would more than double the carbon fibre commercial aircraft market to $850 million in 20 years. However, the key opportunity for carbon fibre lies in its potential adoption in narrow bodied aircraft. By 2030, many of the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 narrow body aircraft delivered in the 1980s and 1990s will need replacement. New designs are now in progress, but the level of carbon fibre use in these is unknown at present. In a scenario where the new narrow body platforms were to mirror the latest wide body A350 and B787 designs and adopt 50% carbon fibre in their primary structures, the total carbon fibre commercial aerospace market would nearly triple to more than $2 billion in 2034.

“This level of demand would require at least one new carbon fibre line to be installed every year from now to 2034,” explains David Schofield, Managing Director at FMG. “However that demand is quite predictable and it should be well within the capabilities of the current carbon fibre manufacturers to achieve those capacity increases.”

Listen to a video outlining highlights of the research here.

For investors and industry players the carbon fibre commercial aerospace market therefore presents a relatively low risk opportunity, but some challenges remain. The threshold of benefits versus barriers for adoption of carbon fibre composites on narrow bodies is different, and setting up the supply chain for larger series production is a key issue.

The FMG team is available to explain its research findings further and discuss the opportunities these present for investors and industry players.

FMG assists businesses at all stages of development from start-up to maturity, by creating and increasing value through accelerating and managing growth. The company’s in-depth industry knowledge and expertise provides clients a comprehensive understanding of the markets in which they operate, or seek to enter, and many emerging areas of opportunity. Following another year of strong business growth in 2015, FMG will continue to expand its research and analysis team and add to its senior team of industry experts during 2016.

Further information
The following FMG Industry Briefing is available to download: The potential impact of narrow body aircraft on carbon fibre demand.

About FMG
FMG, headquartered in Cambridge, UK, is an independent strategic advisory firm specialising in the advanced materials and high value manufacturing sectors. Working globally, the company helps businesses at all stages of their development, from start-up to maturity, to create and increase value through accelerating and managing growth. www.futurematerialsgroup.com

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The introduction of carbon fibre on narrow body aircraft could be a game changer.
(Source: FMG.)