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Report: Business Aviation Helps Drive Growth in Avionics Sales

March 27, 2014

Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) President Paula Derks said AEA's 2013 year-end Avionics Market Report indicates that business aviation is partly responsible for the recent growth in avionics sales, which in turn has had positive impacts on employment and the general economy.

The association's annual report shows that in the business and general aviation sectors, 2013 sales exceeded $2.4 billion, up 6.9 percent from 2012. Avionics fitted by OEMs to new aircraft in 2013 accounted for just over $1.3 billion, or 54 percent, of total business and general aviation sales. The other $1.1 billion, or 46 percent, represented retrofits.

This growth in avionics sales correlates with last year's GA aircraft sales figures. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported that new aircraft shipments were up in every sector in 2013, led by year-over-year gains of 10.4 percent for turbine airplanes and 9.2 percent for turbine helicopters. Many new aircraft entering service worldwide use avionics sourced from U.S. firms.

Derks noted that the market upturn has been felt immediately among AEA member companies.

"A year ago, shops were having trouble keeping their existing staff busy," she said. "Now, many say they are booked with work through the summer, and need more technicians."

Derks predicted that the revision of FAR Part 23 mandated by Congress will further boost the business of avionics manufacturers, and similar revisions to Part 27 and 29 could increase growth in the helicopter avionics sector.

She also put the approaching 2020 deadline for ADS-B compliance into perspective, observing, "We estimate there are 157,000 airplanes currently flying in ADS-B airspace, which still need upgrades. If equipment installations started now and remained steady up until Jan. 1, 2020, that's an average of 40 planes, every day, at every AEA member avionics shop, to beat the deadline."

Derks said this backlog, along with the data now available through AEA's Avionics Market Report, helps demonstrate business aviation's role as a driver of the general economy, "whether we're on Capitol Hill, Wall Street or talking to local media."

The AEA Avionics Market Report is based on figures from 21 companies, reported through a secure web portal to an independent CPA firm to preserve confidentiality. Avionics manufacturers not yet contributing data may contact Derks directly at [email protected], or (816) 347-8400.