In conclusion, the use of glass fiber in various industries is expected to recover from the deleterious effects of the pandemic. Transportation, construction, pipe and tank, and the marine market in particular will play a major role in helping the U.S. market grow back to pre-pandemic conditions. Overall, the U.S. glass fiber market is expected to witness strong growth in 2022 and fully recover from the fallout caused by the pandemic.

Figure X: Global Glass Fiber Demand and Capacity

Source: Lucintel

The Aerospace Market
By Richard Aboulafia, Managing Director
AeroDynamic Advisory

The aircraft industry was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as hard as any industry. World aircraft deliveries fell 35% in 2020 from 2019, while world air travel demand fell 66%. The industry hadn’t seen anything like these numbers since the jet age began.

Yet there are reasons for cautious optimism. According to preliminary year-end numbers, the industry grew 7.5% in 2021. And 2022 should see a very strong 22% expansion.

Military deliveries were hit last year solely for logistical reasons, including pandemic-related factory closures and supply chain disruptions. Actual demand wasn’t hit at all. Countries that initially announced pandemic-related defense budget cuts, such as South Korea, reversed those plans and increased spending over the previous year.

Domestic and export defense demand has been strong, both for geopolitical reasons and because defense spending is viewed as a good way for governments to support national aerospace industries and national economies in a very difficult time. Military output will fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, with additional strong growth after that.

Business aircraft have also come back fast, with utilization recently passing 2019 peak levels. Corporate profits, equities markets and oil prices – the three big drivers behind demand – are all at very high levels, coupled with strong interest in avoiding the service cutbacks and high load factors of airline transport. Delivery numbers are recovering accordingly, and we will see a return to 2019 peak levels there (in units) next year.

Jetliners – normally accounting for around 60% of total industry output – are overall in good shape. We’re expecting air traffic to return to its 2019 peak in early 2023. Fuel prices are back from record lows to a high $80/barrel level, while jetliner financing costs remain quite low. This ratio – the cost of fuel to the cost of capital – is the most important determinant of jetliner market health after airline traffic. The market does best when expensive (but not too expensive) fuel provides an incentive to replace older jets and when there’s inexpensive financing available for those new jets. Right now, the ratio looks excellent.