FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom (AFP) – Top global plane makers land at the Farnborough airshow in England next week, hoping to pick up speed on demand for passenger jets while charting a path through Brexit and trade war turbulence.
This year’s sector showpiece event, opening Monday, will be buzzing on the back of rapid changes in the industry, as US titan Boeing and European arch rival Airbus vie for superiority in the skies.
Chicago-headquartered Boeing could signal plans for its new midsize airplane (NMA), but reports suggest this could be derailed by the festering global trade war spearheaded by US President Donald Trump.
Boeing recently took control of the commercial business of Brazil’s Embraer, while Toulouse-based Airbus bought a majority stake in Canadian peer Bombardier’s C Series airliner program.
The pair will continue their head-to-head dogfight at the biennial Farnborough event locked in a battle for lucrative multi-billion-dollar jet orders.
Farnborough, southwest of London, is one of the world’s largest civilian and defense airshows, along with Paris and Dubai.
Visitors from almost 100 countries will flock to the event, which features air displays by civil and defense jets.
”It’s our biggest international show ever,” said Gareth Rogers, chief executive of Farnborough International, adding that Chinese participation alone was up 70 percent from 2016.
”Everybody is coming to the show,” he added, noting that industry leaders, politicians and government officials would also be attending.
One key talking point will be the NMA single-aisle commercial jets for long-haul journeys, a sweet spot for plane makers.
Rising demand for various types of passenger planes from emerging economies and the soaring success of no-frills airlines will raise the market’s need over the next two decades, Airbus has forecast.
The plane maker expects almost 37,400 new aircraft, worth $5.8 trillion, will be required to meet global demand over the next 20 years. That was hiked from its 2017 forecast of 35,000 new jets.
Airbus has however experienced delivery problems with its new fuel-efficient A320neo jets, and has also faced challenges with the A380 superjumbo – the world’s largest civilian airliner – and its over-budget military transporter A400M.