Farnborough show brings new orders
This year’s Farnborough International Air Show has heralded the usual flurry of aircraft orders, although few of them appear to have been determined in large part by specifically air cargo considerations.
Over 50 aircraft were on static display – including a Malaysia Airlines A380 superjumbo and a brand new Qatar Airways B787 ‘Dreamliner’ – while over 120,000 trade visitors were forecast to attend by show organisers Farnborough International. A number of those visitors were expected to be government ministers, while UK prime minister David Cameron officially opened the show.
Cameron took the opportunity to praise the UK aerospace industry and to confirm his government’s commitment to the sector.
By the time that ACW went to press last Thursday, numerous aircraft orders had been announced, the majority by the world’s two biggest aircraft manufacturers, US-based Boeing and Europe’s Airbus.
Airbus had up to then received the only freighter order, when Synergy Aerospace – a division of the Latin American airline operator Synergy Group – announced that it is to buy three A330Fs as well as six A330-200 passenger aircraft.
John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers, noted that Synergy would be “among the first in Latin America to benefit from the A330F’s outstanding economics and proven track record”.
The Synergy order contributed to US$16.9 billion worth of business that Airbus revealed at Farnborough, consisting of both memorandums of understanding (worth $5.8 billion) and firm purchase orders (worth $11.1 billion).
Last week saw Airbus report that it is to offer an upgraded version of the A330 airliner, with an increased maximum take-off weight of 240 tonnes and higher maximum range.
This additional capability is to be applied to the larger A330-300 model and subsequently to the A330-200 and the A330-200 freighter, the Toulouse-based concern confirmed.
“The A330 has come a long way in the last 10 years,” Leahy enthused. “This aircraft is the most popular aircraft ever in its category and looks set to hold this position for years to come.”
Numerous deals for Airbus A320 Family type equipment were revealed during the show, while New York-based CIT is to buy a further five A330s (adding to a previously announced intention to buy five A330s). Plus, Cathay Pacific is to add the A350-1000 to its future A350 XWB fleet through an order for 10 of the new type as well as the conversion of 16 existing A350-900 orders.
Boeing also announced a number of deals, the largest of them for its new B737 MAX aircraft. Moreover, the company used Farnborough as a platform to reassure customers of its ability to deliver on orders and eat into a backlog that numbers more than 4,000 aircraft.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said that the company is seeing “levels of demonstrated performance (on its aircraft programmes) that give us confidence in our ability to increase production rates and deliver on our promises to customers”.
As well as producing more of its existing aircraft types, Conner also promised that the right strategies are “in place” in regard to new product development at Boeing.