Retrofit Avionics Market Sees Strong Sales

Aircraft owners are making investments in new technology.

Cessna 414
This Cessna 414A Chancellor received a stellar panel upgrade that included Garmin’s G600 PFD/MFD combination, two GTN 750 navigators and full ADS-B In and Out capability.Christophe Jouany

With the 2020 ADS-B Out mandate rapidly approaching, and as more and more aircraft operators are realizing the benefits of advanced cockpit systems, an increasing number of owners are opting to add retrofit avionics systems to their aircraft. The Aircraft Electronics Association reported that there was a significant increase in the retrofit market.

In its 2017 year-end Avionics Market Report, AEA reported a total business and general avionics net sales figure of more than $2.3 billion worldwide. This figure includes components and accessories, hardware, batteries and product upgrades, but does not include repairs and overhauls, extended warranties or subscription services.

This is the first time since 2014 that the industry has seen an increase in sales – in this case an uptick of 2.9 percent over 2016.

A total of $1.34 billion in 2017 represented retrofits to airplanes after original production, while $984 million accounted for forward-fit avionics (retrofit avionics installed by the aircraft manufacturer at the time of production). Actual retrofit installations saw an increase in sales of more than 20 percent. The companies that recorded the location of the sales reported that 73.5 percent of the retrofit sales took place in North America.

“Many avionics shops are telling us that aircraft owners are electing to order full-panel avionics upgrades rather than just the ADS-B equipment,” said AEA president Paula Derks. “It will be interesting to see whether the retrofit market continues to grow significantly in the next two years as the mandate draws closer.”