Retrofit Avionics Sales Accelerate
Sales of retrofit avionics for business and general aviation aircraft for the first nine months of 2017 are up 28% relative to the same period last year, says the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). Sales of forward-fit avionics (those destined for new aircraft) were down 17.1% over the same period. "Retrofit sales increased more than 32 percent during the third-quarter months alone," says AEA President Paula Derks. “This is consistent with what shop owners in the United States have been telling me during our AEA Connect Conferences this fall, as many have a backlog of work ranging anywhere from two to six months. I am hopeful that the retrofit market will remain healthy as we get closer and closer to the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline for aircraft to be equipped with ADS-B Out avionics in the U.S."
Avionics sales as a whole are up 4.1% for the first nine months of the year, suggesting 2017 might be the first year of growth for avionics in some time. Worldwide sales of both forward-fit and retrofit avionics dropped 6.4% last year relative to 2015 after dropping 4.4% the year prior. The retrofit market is slightly larger than the forward-fit market as a whole, collecting 57.7% of avionics revenues in the first part of 2017. AEA reports combined 2017 sales to date of $1.73 billion.