Call it grounding by association. FORTUNE magazine published an article in June, 2017 that states, “A whole lot of corporate planes could soon be grounded.” Of course, anyone involved in aviation for business or hobby (outside of being a frequent flyer on your favorite airline) probably knows the article is referring to the FAA’s January 1, 2020 Mandate. The mandate states, in its simplest form, that with exception to some remote US airspace, all aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out technology by 01/01/2020 if they want to fly in the US.
Passenger airlines and shipping companies like FedEx and UPS have already upgraded their aircraft to meet the mandate, but the business aviation world has been very slow to equip to the mandated technology. FORTUNE estimates that a staggering 15,000 business aircraft will be grounded after December 31, 2019 if the number of monthly upgrades doesn’t drastically increase. But even if it does, it doesn’t guarantee complete compliance by 2020.
According to FORTUNE — 20,731 business jets still needed to be equipped as of March 2017. There are only so many avionics shops in the US that can handle only so many installations each month – currently they’re averaging about 115 installs per month. We are quickly approaching the point of having too many aircraft needing upgrades and not enough time available to complete them. And those rushing to get upgrades completed in the last year should expect to pay more than those who didn’t. And if you’re thinking that the FAA will extend the mandate’s deadline… You better change your thoughts quickly! The FAA is steadfast in stating that it will not be extended.
Business aviation employs over a million people in the US. A grounded business jet effects much more than just its passengers. If you’re a business jet pilot, do you know if you will be grounded in 2020?