Two of the largest avionics manufacturers are uniting forces. In a surprise announcement Thursday, Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd, announced a definitive agreement to acquire UPS Aviation Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of United Parcel Service Inc., for $38 million in cash. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter. Once the deal is done, UPS Aviation Technologies (UPSAT) will change its name to Garmin AT Inc. and will continue operations as a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmin International. "Our decision to sell is based on the fact that our airline has matured, and ongoing development and marketing of aviation technology is not part of the long-term strategic direction of UPS," said Tom Weidemeyer, president of UPS Airlines.
It was not immediately clear what Garmin's acquisition of UPSAT means for consumers. Although UPSAT will become a subsidiary, it essentially leaves Honeywell Bendix/King and Avidyne as the remaining avionics manufacturers for the general aviation market. A source at UPSAT said the move could ultimately be good for general aviation consumers because the engineering teams at UPSAT and Garmin working together can, he believes, bring new technology to the market more quickly than either of them could alone. Garmin, which is known for innovation and user friendliness, will pick up UPSAT's customer base and new technology. UPSAT developed automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology and certified the first panel-mount navigation receiver, the CNX80 GPS, which can be used for primary navigation using the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS).