Half of U.S. Aircraft Fleet Will Miss ADS-B Deadline

 - November 15, 2018, 1:23 PM

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.”

Comments

With respect to piston aircraft, “Some people waited thinking prices of equipage would go down, but the opposite is happening.” is a poorly substantiated statement.

We have heard that said for at least four years. In those years both prices and options have improved significantly!.

Many piston aircraft while potentially inconvenienced come 2020 absent ADS-B OUT, will not be grounded. While it may well be a sellers market from here to mid 2020, on the other side of that will be a buyers market..Despite the doom predictions, for the price of some inconvenience "Good thing Come to him who wait."

These comments were made at a business jet conference and thus directed to owners/operators in this segment. non-ADS-B-equipped business jets would be relegated to operating below 10,000 feet and outside of any controlled airspace after Jan. 1, 2020, which would be economically unfeasible.

Also, on a more general note, the ADS-B equipage estimate was based on shop capacity and past equipage levels. So there might be less expensive ADS-B hardware now, but you will face higher install prices and hardware shortages due to increasing demand, if you can even find/book an installation slot that is. The presenters noted that only 1,488 out of 4,882 shops WORLDWIDE are able to do ADS-B installs. That's not a lot of capacity for the 100,000+ U.S.-registered airplanes that will still not be ADS-B equipped as of Jan. 1, 2020, and that's notwithstanding the non-equipped European-registered airplanes that will need it by mid-2020. The struggle is real.

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