The Farnborough Air Show Opens Next Week – Part 1
Farnborough Air Show has recently taken flak for not moving with the times, but that would be underestimating just how much private jet business will making moves at this July’s event.
There is exactly one week to go till the Farnborough International, the traditional jewel in the crown of jet events that alternates between Farnborough and Paris each summer. Whatever aviation professionals and enthusiasts may think of travelling to the UK and in the midst of Britain’s notoriously unpredictable summer weather, the facts still support Farnborough’s influence in moving serious business for the industry.
In 2010, the last time the show was held in the UK, there was $47 billion of current and future jet orders on display. In the two year gap, we’ve outridden neutral growth and this year’s show is quietly expected to build even further on previous numbers. There will be 1,400 exhibitors from 40 different countries and a quarter of a million visitors to indulge them. Farnborough promoters will rest easy knowing they’ve already booked a complete sell-out show. This is perhaps more of a unique achievement on the aviation calendar given that this is one for few all-week events, transforming itself from business conference to glitzy gala air displays that end the weekend on a note of adrenaline.
So, with 1,400 exhibitors to sift through, who will be the names to keep an eye at for next week?
We know that Honeywell will be extending their absence from Farnborough for yet another bi-annual period, but one notable return from a 28-year hiatus is Boeing. At a time when glitz and glamour find themselves minimized for tightening budgets at the top, Boeing is reversing the trend to use Farnborough as (it hopes) a means to attract more 737 Max orders to catch up to Airbus’ rival A320neo. Boeing also hopes to bring its 787 Dreamliner out of the mire from three-year delays. Although not many of the visitors will be in the market for buying multi-aisle commercial jets, what this does mean is Boeing is virtually guaranteed to fly one of their large passenger jets in the weekend air display, no matter how long they want to wait to confirm such rumors. Keep a lookout for the Bell-Boeing V22 tilt-rotor, too.
Another rival on mainly commercial airliner terms, Airbus is spreading its activities towards future training and employment in the aviation industry by participating in next Friday’s Futures Day; a section dedicated to 11-21 year olds that hopes to pull in 10,000 young people to get involved in flying the skies of tomorrow. Airbus is a mainstay of Farnborough’s air displays and will have no problem pulling out some more crowd-pleasing stops for the show, having seen their A320neo pull ahead of Boeing directly because of their presence in Paris last year.
Boeing vs. Airbus will undoubtedly dominate the skies, but this week will be full of further installments and updates ahead of Farnborough on Private Jet. There are plenty of business jet manufacturers like Eclipse with their Eclipse 500, Finnmeccanica and even the notorious debut of Virgin Galactic to anticipate before next Monday’s opening.