A market report released Nov. 10 by the Aircraft Electronics Association further illustrates the general aviation slowdown seen in aircraft sales data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and suggests many aircraft owners are still waiting to equip for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out with just over four years left before it will be required in airspace that currently requires a Mode C transponder.
AEA noted a 7.5-percent decline in overall avionics sales for the first three quarters of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Factory installations fell 7.7 percent, and retrofit sales dropped 7.3 percent for the period. Just under two-thirds of the total sales reported to an independent auditor from 21 leading avionics firms were made to customers in the United States and Canada.
“Unfortunately, the report shows some softness in sales this quarter and in the current year,” AEA President Paula Derks said in a news release. “With a year-over-year sales decline of 7.5 percent, clearly, our industry continues to face some economic challenges that may be primarily related to the strength of the U.S. dollar in the international markets. In addition, while the FAA reports that the ADS-B equipage pace has grown in the past year, it has not resulted in a similar increase in total avionics sales. The AEA will continue to monitor these and other economic forces moving forward.”
Aircraft owners have until Jan. 1, 2020, to equip with ADS-B Out (position data transmission) capability to fly in much of the National Airspace System, including airspace where Mode C is currently required. In recent years, Derks has warned that demand for ADS-B installations (based on the number of active aircraft yet to be equipped) will exceed the capacity of shops to complete those installations in time to meet the mandate. AEA Vice President Ric Peri noted in an open letter to aircraft owners published in the organization’s magazine that there are about 1,000 working days (1,046 as of Nov. 1) before the mandate, which was established in 2010, takes effect. AOPA has created an online tool to help owners choose the system most appropriate to their needs.