Just 46.2 percent of the U.S. aircraft fleet is projected to meet the ADS-B equipment mandate by the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline, a panel of business aviation industry experts warned yesterday at the Corporate Jet Investor Miami conference. With only 411 days left, only 30.3 percent of this fleet is equipped, according to FAA data as of November 1.
But on the general aviation (GA) side, the current equipage figure is bleaker: 22.2 percent, according to data compiled by JetNet and Duncan Aviation. Business jet equipage was highest, with 7,477, or 52.5 percent, of these 14,320 aircraft now compliant. This is followed by turboprops, at 29.6 percent (3,591 of 12,149); pistons, 17.5 percent (35,791 of 204,191); and helicopters, 14.2 percent (1,968 of 13,866).
Panelists Alex Craig of aircraft valuation risk mitigation firm AvRisk, Chick Wade of Rockwell Collins, and Joe Zulueta of aircraft appraiser Aeronautical Systems had a unified message for operators of non-ADS-B-equipped business jets, most of which are in the light and midsize categories: “You will be effectively grounded after January 1, 2020. Book a slot now, if you haven’t already!”
These slots are already in short supply, said Craig, noting that Duncan Aviation has informed existing customers that it might not have enough capacity to cover all of them by the deadline. “What are your chances of getting a slot if you’re not already a Duncan customer? Virtually none,” he said.
Besides lack of available slots, install prices are also escalating and equipment shortages are already starting to emerge. “Some people waited thinking prices of equipage would go down,” Craig said. “But the opposite is happening.”
According to Zulueta, not only will non-equipped jets be grounded in less than 14 months, but these aircraft will suffer significant devaluation and owners will incur storage fees.
ADS-B is not only a concern for U.S. operators, they said. Equipage will also be mandated in Europe by mid-2020, and many of the shop capacity issues and equipment shortages are also plaguing this region. In fact, Craig said MROs in Europe are charging just to book slots. “They’ve figured out how to make money even before the installation,” he quipped.
Operators must also look beyond just the ADS-B mandate, the trio said. “There’s ADS-C, which is essentially satellite-based ADS-B, as well as FANS and CPDLC, coming down the pike,” Craig concluded. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”