RIAT BASKS IN GLORY WHILE FARNBOROUGH PLAYS OUT TO WIDER TRADE GALLERY
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
17 Jul 14. Coming straight off the back of the highly successful Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) held at RAF Fairford having moved on to spend the past three days at Farnborough International I am in no doubt as to why this great event in the trade show calendar should be regarded as the most successful aerospace industry trade show in the world.
Spending three days at each of the two events mentioned I now come back down to earth having met a great many friends and industry and military colleagues all of whom work so hard to make the defence and aerospace industry and the UK military as respected in the international community as it clearly is. RIAT is a class act unsurpassed anywhere in the world and one in which military and industry can network in a relaxed and relatively informal environment. As the single most important military air show event held in the UK it is of little surprise that RIAT should attract no less than forty-six air force chiefs from around the world not to mention senior management from virtually every major aerospace and defence prime in Europe and the US.
As the pre-eminent aerospace industry trade show Farnborough plays to a very much wider gallery made up of those engaged in the industry both small and large. Here too may be found press and media from all over the world learning, writing and broadcasting on what is going on in this vitally important industry. Long may that continue and let me once and for all dispel the myth that in the face of increasing numbers of international air and trade shows now being held around the world that Farnborough might struggle to survive in the years ahead. It won’t – it will thrive.
Each and every year Farnborough adapts to change and it always respects what industry wants and needs. While it is probably true to say that the three most important days of Farnborough International are now behind us that does not mean that we have seen an end to commercial aircraft order announcements for Boeing, Airbus and maybe others. I have little interest in who by the end of the show might have announced the least or most new orders but on this suffice to say that a raft of new orders and intentions announced by Boeing and Airbus do show that this industry is not just alive but in very rude health. Yes, there are engineering skills issues and worries whether the supply side can cope with the pressures being exerted on them to produce increasing amounts of engineered components. There may be a mix of other issues and problems too but overall the commercial aerospace industry is doing very well.
In terms of commercial aircraft announcements at Farnborough whilst orders for single aisle aircraft continue to dominate in terms of actual numbers the arrival of the new Airbus A350XWB at Farnborough for the first time has certainly aroused much interest. Airbus announcement of the proposed A330neo, an aircraft that will be powered by a more fuel efficient derivative (the Trent 7000) of the Rolls-Royce Trent engine, was welcomed and backed up by several announced order intentions.
Having previously announced a raft of orders for the Boeing 737 MAX there was confirmation by Hainan Airlines and Monarch for a total 80 jets of the type at the show. Qatar Airways confirmed in order form its previously announced intention to acquire 50 Boeing 777x jetliners together with a right to buy agreement for another 50 jets.
For Airbus additional orders for the A350XWB, plus the receipt of a great many new orders for the A320neo family of aircraft and the manner in which the A330neo proposal has been received should mean that the European company will leave Farnborough well satisfied.
With the ‘C’ Series aircraft order book standing at just 203 aircraft and with the aircraft hitting a stream of development problems and delays there has be