• Passenger traffic in 2020 fell 61%, but this did not cause a fall in airport logistics automation revenues
  • 4 main companies dominate the market for airport logistics automation
  • Europe and Americas generate majority of revenues

Global market intelligence firm Interact Analysis has published the first edition of a new report on the airport logistics automation market containing an analysis of baggage, cargo and software in airports globally. The report shows that global passenger traffic in 2020 fell 61% compared to 2019, but this did not cause a corresponding fall in airport logistics automation revenues that year.

One reason for this was that equipment installations are based on predicted demand for several years ahead, not just the current year. Despite this, 2021 airport logistics automation revenues are forecast to remain at the 2020 level due to continued uncertainty around available finance and the impact of reduced confidence, both fuelled by the pandemic. Conversely, the cargo sector did relatively better in 2020: cargo traffic increased whilst automation sales for cargo remained stable. Furthermore, automation equipment sales for the cargo sector in 2021 are projected to be higher than in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an obvious decrease in demand for large airports to be built, so consequently has led to a reduction in greenfield projects, limiting overall automation revenue growth in 2020. However, China is forecast to experience substantial growth with an average year-on-year rate of 7.2% from 2020 to 2025. The US and European airport logistics automation markets are deemed as ‘mature’ now, with the US market responsible for 22% of revenue in 2021, Europe at 26% and China at 15%.

Re-emergence of the market after the pandemic will be slow, but new technologies relating to airport automation have gained momentum over the past year. We can expect to see revenues soar for self-bag drop systems, which are forecast to grow from $62 million in 2020 to $145 million in 2025. Individual Carrier Systems (ICS) are a relatively new technology with good market penetration. They hold a Baggage Handling Systems (BHS) revenue share of 21% in 2021, forecast to increase to 22% by 2025.

The 4 top suppliers within the US and Europe share 90% of the market. Including Vanderlande, Siemens, Beumer and Daifuku. However, the Chinese market looks very different: Siemens and Vanderlande still compete strongly, but the local base of suppliers led by CALTCO generates the majority of revenue in China.

Jamie Fox, Principal Analyst at Interact Analysis says: “One particularly interesting finding is that mid-sized projects will be key to the airport logistics automation business. The majority of 2021 revenue will be generated from projects of between $5 million and $100 million. Capacity expansion and equipment upgrades will also be important in the recovery.”