CORPORATE JET INSIDER
Avionics Retrofits Are Hot! What’s Your Next Upgrade?
Individuals or corporate leaders looking to purchase private jets have a big decision to make: forward or retro. Are you looking to purchase a new aircraft or a used model and retrofit it to meet regulatory mandates as well as your needs? Or, if you already own a jet and want to upgrade, is it better to take the plunge with a new aircraft or save money by retrofitting your current one?
According to a report by the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), avionics sales for business and general aviation were up 2.7% year-over-year in the first 6 months of 2017. AEA President Paula Derks stated, “It’s encouraging to see a positive increase in year-over-year sales for two straight quarters, something we haven’t experienced since 2014.”
The interesting part of the report is that the increase is not due to new aircraft forward-fits or avionics systems for new jets. Of the $1.145 billion in avionics sales, 56.2% was for retrofits in existing aircraft and 43.8% for forward-fit installs. This speaks to the surging market for retrofit equipment aimed at used aircraft compared with sales related to new jets.
Why the retrofit surge?
There are several reasons for the increased popularity of preowned jets and retrofit avionics and equipment. In fact, the biggest competition for new jet sales could be preowned jets ripe for avionics, power, and performance upgrades.
Many jet owners today are retrofitting because of the mandate to implement ADS-B solutions by the January 2020 deadline. And the AEA is urging aircraft owners not to postpone their upgrades to the last minute as there are a finite number of shops and installers to perform the upgrades. In addition to the ADS-B deadline, a more permissive policy for installing non-certified equipment to improve safety in certified aircraft can be partially responsible for the uptick in retrofits.
The retrofit market
Whether it’s refurbishing for style and comfort or upgrading avionics for safety and navigation improvements, the retrofit market is hot. This is good news for private and business jet owners looking to upgrade their flight experiences. Whether you’re looking to purchase and retrofit a preowned jet or want to update your oldie but goodie for increased safety and comfort, the time is right for making what’s old new again.