The market is broadly segmented into aircraft handling, passenger handling, and cargo handling. Third-party handling is the norm at most large international airports, except for the Middle Eastern regions where state control is common. The ground handling services market is expected to witness increased investments, with the rise in global air passenger traffic over the forecast period, as airports prepare to handle larger numbers of passengers. Key international airports in the Middle East and India are expected to experience a rise in passenger traffic by 20% over the forecast period. India has already registered a growth in domestic air passenger traffic over the last 12 months, with an average growth rate of 23.3%, twice that of China’s, as per IATA.
The regulations in the North American region are less stringent compared to those of the European region, where there are airport imposed limits on the number of handlers. Self-handling is prevalent in the United States and other less regulated zones, whereas third party services are generally preferred in the European region. The rapidly increasing number of airports in the developing world and a need for more secure and efficient methods are the driving factors for this market.
Globally, airport ground handling services have witnessed a moderate increase in accidents and mishaps that are directly caused by faulty ground handling. Aircraft weight balancing, maintenance, examination of aircraft fuselage and engines, emergency services, and other activities have to become more secure and faster, to accommodate the rising number of on-time departures scheduled per day. The newer commercial aircrafts with extra-long ranges and higher fuel carrying capacities have led to the rise in tail tipping incidents, owing to weight misbalance. Boeing’s 737 LR & ER variant has reported a high number of such tail tipping accidents, while Airbus 300’s freight variant reported one such incident in the past five years. Proper cargo and passenger handling has become a factor that can decide profit & loss for airlines.
African countries have little cooperation among their national flag carriers, which is allowing foreign low-cost carrier airlines to reap profits from the increasing inter-country passenger air traffic. The free sky initiative of the region has seen very few participants and minimal cooperation between the countries of the region, thus restricting the movement of flag carriers within the region.
Continuation of such non-cooperation among flag carriers within Africa, is expected to result in the closure of a lot of African flag carrier airlines. This has allowed LCCs to increase their market presence in Africa, while business jet services witnessed a rise in charter flights.
LCC subsidiaries of parent airlines have dominated the African aviation industry and chartered business jets are the new blooming airline service that is expected to get benefited from the non-cooperation of the free sky initiative in Africa.
India witnessed a rise in its private jet fleet, with the number increasing to 154, between 2015 and 2016. The Indian market also saw the rise in number of chartered flight service providers, totaling to 91 operators by the end of 2017. Five of these operators represented 21% of the Indian business jet fleet. The Indian business jet service is driven by the business tycoons and show-biz billionaires.
The total number of aircraft in the African business jet fleet was 564, as of 2017. Of these, 20% were available for chartered flight services. Around 20% of the African business jets fly to Middle East, and annually, 70% flew to destinations within Africa, while the rest flew to Europe. Presidents and governments here own and operate a sizeable fleet of business jets.
Airlink Cargo, Bid Air Services, SAA, and Swissport South Africa are a few key ground handling service providers in South Africa. AN Aviation and Location Flight Services are the two complete ground handling service providers in UAE. Diehl Aerosystems holding GmbH, SAIC, Cavotec SA, and JBT Corporation are some of the key players in the market.
Major Key Players : Diehl Aerosystems holding GmbH, SAIC, Cavotec SA, and JBT Corporation ,Airlink Cargo, Bid Air Srvices, SAA, Swissport South Africa