March 27, 2013
By Jim Moore
Aircraft Electronics Association President Paula Derks made a pitch to attendees at the association’s annual convention to share sales data that will help make a case for the industry’s economic value.
Avionics is a big business, and the Aircraft Electronics Association is working to find out exactly how big. A first-of-its-kind Avionics Market Report, compiled with 2012 sales data from 19 leading manufacturers, shows a $6.3 billion industry supporting high-tech jobs. And that’s not the half of it.
“Right now, we feel like we are capturing about 30 to 40 percent of the market,” said AEA President Paula Derks, who introduced the new report March 26 at the AEA International Convention & Trade Show in Las Vegas. Derks said there are “several more manufacturers we hope to convince to participate in the report.”
Much like the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s annual report, the AEA version will be used as a tool to highlight contributions by the industry, including high-tech jobs and other economic benefits, and also assist participating companies with market analysis and planning. Derks said the association hopes to expand participation in 2014, and also begin to break down the sales data by industry subgroups, and units sold.
“It’s a great start to explaining to the world our economic importance,” Derks said.
Addressing hundreds of avionics manufacturers, installers, and others gathered for four days of technical training and sales, Derks presented her own pitch to those not yet participating.
“Not only will this report be useful to our membership in strategic planning and examining market share, but it will be valuable information to promote our industry to the aviation community, investors, and most importantly, when informing our elected officials of the value of the industry to the global economy,” Derks said.
Garmin, Bendix/King, Aspen Avionics, FreeFlight Systems, Sandia Aerospace, Trig Avionics, Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics, and Rockwell Collins are among the first 19 companies who have agreed to share their sales data, a sensitive topic, Derks noted, as she praised their cooperation.
Manufacturers are cooperating in other ways as well: Avidyne Corp., FreeFlight Systems, and Aspen Avionics have all agreed to standardize interfaces for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment, which will allow consumers to mix and match devices from participating manufacturers.
Derks said attendance at the show was up 11 percent, and there is a growing sense of optimism for the future. The ADS-B mandate, requiring aircraft operating in controlled airspace to be equipped with ADS-B Out capability starting in 2020 will help drive new business, and those systems continue to be a hot topic at the show.
“We’re rolling up our sleeves, we’re getting to work. We’re not going to wait for our government to tell us what to do. We are going to take it by the bootstraps and build our industry back up again,” Derks said. “We’re creating our own work, and our own growth.”
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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