MROs, Dealers & Brokers Warn of ADS-B Logjam
| Aviation Week Network
Gama Aviation is the latest company to add its voice to the growing chorus of concern that the business-aviation community is flirting with disaster if it continues to ignore the implications of the U.S.’s 2020 deadline for ADS-B conversion/installation.
Duncan Daines, the chief marketing officer for Gama’s Oxford Airport-based London ground MRO unit, warns that operators face increased costs or having their jets grounded if they do not get the work scheduled soon. Experts note there are more aircraft remaining to be outfitted than there are MRO slots available before the deadline.
Failure to comply will result in jets being unable to fly in most classes of North American airspace, limiting their utility so extensively it will effectively mean they are grounded.
“We don’t think operators are taking the 2020 ADS-B mandate as seriously they should,” Daines says. “Exactly the same is happening in the U.S: it’s delay, delay, delay.
“This is a mandate that we do not believe is going to change. Operators need to take action now.”
Clearly, for a company such as Gama, which will fit-supplied equipment, there is an obvious business interest in heightening a perceived sense of urgency.
“It does, as an MRO, provide us with a potentially useful market,” Daines says. Yet Daines’s warning cannot be dismissed as an attempt to drum up business through instilling fear or panic. It is, he argues, the product of how many jets the company knows that need to have the work done, how few have so far been booked in for the necessary upgrade, and how long conversion takes to carry out.
“There are too many aircraft, not enough maintenance slots, not enough engineers, and not enough parts. It just puts pressure on the system, and when you put pressure on the system, prices go up.
“There are going to be a lot of people who are going to be shocked to see their aircraft grounded or limited in flight,” says aircraft dealer Steve Varsano. “If you’re flying over the North Atlantic you’d better get your act together quickly because you’ll have to fly at a ridiculous [low] altitude that burns fuel. You’re going to have to go further north, outside the tracks. It’s going to start getting crazy expensive and you’re going to have to make stops.”
The implications affect other members of the business-aviation ecosystem beyond owners and operators, from dealers to brokers and beyond. Yet members of those communities suggest that it is the operators of non-compliant aircraft who have the most to lose.
“If anybody’s buying a jet, they want to have the airplane ready,” Varsano says, emphasizing that selling a non-compliant jet is already virtually impossible. “The principals [involved in a bizjet purchase] may not know all the terminology, but they know about the 2020 requirements. They want to know: ‘Is this airplane upgraded?’ Or, ‘What’s it going to cost me to upgrade it?’
“Anybody who has one might be putting it off because they don’t want to have the expense – but anybody who’s buying an airplane definitely knows about this, and they’re paying attention.”
“Our view is you either get prepared – get converted – or get lost, basically, in the graveyard of aircraft that are not going to be compliant,” says Victor and Alyssum Group founder Clive Jackson, who argues that there is no correlation between the number of aircraft available to the charter marketplace and the number of quotes Victor is able to offer its customers.
“You could look at this as an opportunity to refresh what is deemed to be the available fleet,” he says.