Worldwide avionics sales for business and general aviation aircraft reached more than $566 million in the first three months, a 0.01 percent increase over the same time period last year, according to the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). “Although the sales amount was nearly identical to the first three months of 2016,” AEA noted, “it marked the first time since the fourth quarter of 2015 that sales increased during the same period from the previous year, snapping a string of seven consecutive quarterly reports showing a decrease in sales from the previous year.”
The total includes nearly $323 million for retrofit sales and more than $243 million in forward-fit sales. Retrofit sales climbed rapidly in the first quarter compared with the year-ago period—up 25.9 percent. Forward-fit sales (avionics for installation in newly built aircraft) dropped 21.4 percent in the first quarter versus the same time last year.
Companies that measure their results by region reported that, for the first quarter, 69.3 percent of sales were in the U.S. and Canada and 30.7 percent in other international markets. The amounts reported, from 22 manufacturers, reflect net sales prices for all electronic sales, including components and accessories in cockpit, cabin and software, along with hardware, batteries and chargeable product upgrades.
“This quarter offers mixed reviews, as industry saw a substantial decrease in forward-fit sales offset by a larger increase in retrofit sales,” said AEA president Paula Derks. “We have seen an increase in the percentage of sales coming from the retrofit market for four straight years, but this quarter marks the biggest swing toward that industry segment. Although the final sales amount was nearly identical to the first three months of 2016, it indeed showed a slight increase for the first time in several reporting cycles, which ends a downward trend during the last couple of years.”