Avionics Digital Edition

Avionics Industry Faces Challenges Through COVID-19 Pandemic

Perhaps one of the biggest COVID-19 shocks came on May 4, when GE Aviation President and CEO published a statement confirming the company’s expectation for workforce reductions.

In the statement, Joyce writes, “We are developing our plan for permanent reductions to our global employee base that we anticipate will bring our total reductions this year to as much as 25% (including both voluntary and involuntary actions already announced). In GE’s earnings call last week, we shared that Aviation is developing $1 billion of cost actions and $2 billion of cash actions in 2020, which includes these anticipated reductions.”

And GE is just one of several industry giants making such cuts, with Boeing expecting to reduce its own workforce of 160,000 global employees by up to 10 percent. Gogo also furloughed 54 percent of its workforce in May.

The reality is that the avionics industry will likely be changed forever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies are managing to continue working on a limited scale through the pandemic with a focus on prioritizing high-value projects and products. Boeing, as an example, continues certification flight testing of its 737 MAX MCAS software update. Garmin also achieved its first airplane certification for its Autoland technology after completing a certification flight in May.

In April, Universal Avionics started manufacturing medical masks and shields at its Tucson, Arizona facility, while Honeywell Aerospace added manufacturing capabilities at its Phoenix, Arizona site to produce N95 face masks.

June/July is the connectivity issue of Avionics, with contributions from Daniel Welch, an in-flight connectivity analyst with Valour Consultancy who provides an overview of equipage rates from the first quarter and a preview of a deeper dive he will make in the next issue. Peter Goettle also provides a look at modern airplane bandwidth needs, while Frank Wolfe discusses some of the latest capabilities of leading EFB apps. Brian Garret-Glaser and myself provide a look at the future potential for 5G in aviation, and our cover story features a look at Internet of Things technology advancements in commercial aviation.

We will continue to change our editorial calendar for the remainder of the year to reflect the new reality of the industry. As always, please send me any thoughts you have about what topics you would like to see us cover in the next issue.

— Woodrow Bellamy III (@WBellamyIIIAC)