Avionics sales in 2020 continue to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry, according to the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), with overall sales down 27 percent in the first three quarters compared to 2019. And while “forward-fit” (or original-equipment) sales were flat in the third quarter of 2020, retrofit sales saw a modest uptick from the dismal second quarter, notching sales of $296 million, a 10.8 percent increase. Still, that’s a long way from the very strong third quarter of 2019, with a 33 percent decrease across the board. Remember that avionics sales in 2019 were buoyed by the impending ASD-B requirements that took effect at the beginning of this year.
“The significant contraction of industry sales during the last six months has been driven by the international health crisis,” said AEA President and CEO Mike Adamson. “However, we are encouraged with the direction of activity in the retrofit market, which is up nearly 11% over second-quarter total sales. In addition, the overwhelming majority of AEA member shops and manufacturers are continuing their essential operations, and many are reporting customer backlogs that extend several weeks and into next year.”
Even a strong fourth quarter is unlikely to continue the three-year trend of sales increases for the avionics sector, which grew just a bit more than 10 percent a year from 2017 to 2019 after modest contractions in 2015 and 2016.