AEA Reports Q1 Avionics Sales Top $660 Million

The full impact of the coronavirus had not yet registered in the market.

Panel upgrades are one way to mitigate the sting of aircraft downtime.Julie Boatman

What’s one way to ease the pain of the enforced aircraft downtime prompted by stay-at-home orders or other current realities? If an aircraft owner had a panel upgrade planned for 2020, moving that installation up on the calendar clearly proves an effective use of time.

At this time last year, the avionics industry was riding the wave of the ADS-B mandate—and shops were stretched to complete the orders they had on the books. Industry experts generally expected a softening to take place. "With the passing of the January 1, 2020, deadline to equip aircraft with ADS-B Out avionics in the United States, the end to 12 consecutive quarters of sales growth may not come as a surprise," said Aircraft Electronics Association president and CEO Mike Adamson regarding the association’s latest market report. "We also don't yet know the full extent and global impact of the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic near the end of the first quarter and how it will weigh on the industry and our market figures going forward. The continued operations of business and general aviation could provide a silver lining while commercial aviation remains at a near standstill worldwide."

The association reported the first quarter avionics sales have topped $660 million—off from 2019 figures, but not yet registering the full impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and economic slowdown on the sector. The Q1 numbers show a nearly even split between the retrofit and forward-fit segments, at $345.65 million and $314.78 million, respectively. Last year’s Q1 came in at $388.085 million and $336.083 million, off by 10.9 percent and 6.3 percent.