NextGen GA Fund Will Finance Avionics Upgrades

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Aircraft owners who want to upgrade their electronics to take advantage of NextGen capabilities will soon have a new fund they can apply to for financing, the Aircraft Electronics Association announced on Monday. The NextGen GA Fund will provide access to "quick, affordable financial incentives" to help aircraft owners install and certify WAAS-capable GPS, ADS-B In, ADS-B Out, RNAV/RNP avionics, data communications, SWIM, flat-panel displays, antennas, electronic components, and instrument panel modifications, AEA said. "The NextGen GA Fund will enable the retrofit of tens of thousands of general aviation aircraft," AEA said.

The fund is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Congress, the aerospace industry and the private-sector investment community. Starting with a capital base of $550 million, the fund will eventually provide some $1.3 billion in financing to the GA sector over the next 10 years, according to AEA. A special web portal to access the fund will launch this spring, AEA said. Using the portal, "member repair stations will be able to quickly and seamlessly refer customers to the NextGen GA Fund as a financing alternative to help provide the necessary resources in accomplishing important upgrades for more than 157,000 general aviation aircraft," AEA said.

"The NextGen GA Fund will help customers of AEA member repair shops move forward with the Jan. 1, 2020, ADS-B equipage mandate," said Paula Derks, AEA president. "It also will bring substantial private-sector capital to help pilots and aircraft owners overcome financial challenges to completing these safety-enhancing installations." Michael Dyment, general partner with the NEXA General Partnership, manager of the NextGen GA Fund, said the fund will protect the FAA's own $40 billion investment in NextGen infrastructure, for which aircraft equipage is essential. "An alternative to commercial bank financing alternatives, the NextGen GA Fund offers owners of general aviation aircraft the advantage to equip for NextGen without a large cash outlay or having to mortgage the aircraft in return," Dyment said.