The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) annual market report contains good news for avionics manufacturers and shops. Compared to 2017, last year’s total sales topped $2.7 billion, a gain of 17.3 percent. This uptick follows a modest 2.9 percent rise from 2016 to 2017, that in turn followed two years of single-digit decline.
Of the total, 53 percent came from retrofit sales with the remainder being new avionics purchased by airframe manufacturers for new installations. These so-called forward-fit sales saw a strong bump in 2018 from $984 million to $1.2 billion, which mirrors the rise in airframe deliveries last year.
According to Geoff Hill, director of communications for AEA, the retrofit push is driven by the looming ADS-B deadline. “The retrofit market may be positively impacted due to an uptick in the aircraft equipage rate ahead of the FAA’s 2020 deadline for ADS-B Out avionics. The retrofit surge also might be partially attributed to the possibility that aircraft owners are choosing to have additional avionics work done while simultaneously coming into ADS-B compliance. Many avionics shops are telling us that aircraft owners are electing to order full-panel avionics upgrades rather than just the ADS-B equipment.”
The majority of these sales were in the U.S. and Canada, according to the AEA; just 22.3 percent of the volume was attributed to international sales.