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Farnborough International 2000: Day Five

Lead Story

  Record Orders, New Programs Highlight FI2000


FARNBOROUGH, England - The first Farnborough of the new millennium lived up to the high expectations reserved for the premiere event of the aerospace industry. Record-breaking order levels and the debut of exciting new aircraft programs set the overall tone of FI2000, which was that of continued health and prosperity for this industry.

By week's end, more than $40 billion in commercial aircraft orders were recorded. This compares with $20 billion recorded at the Paris Air Show last year, and $12 billion taken in at Farnborough '98. Taking the numbers even further off the charts, the European commitment to the new Airbus Military Transport on Thursday added another $17 billion to the FI2000 tally.

The flurry of commercial order announcements is typical Farnborough. This year's star was clearly the Airbus A3XX, which received 22 commitments from three customers (Emirates, ILFC and Air France). While certainly encouraging and exciting to think the industry is a major step closer to seeing the largest airliner ever built, Airbus is still holding back the official launch of this program until year-end. This means that the show of support from the airlines and leasing companies for the A3XX at FI2000 was little more than that. Nonetheless, the argument for the need for such an aircraft in the market is obviously being taken to heart by some major industry names, and no one would argue that the A3XX program took a huge leap forward at FI2000.

All told, Airbus ended up with $18 billion in orders and commitments at FI2000. The 11 new business announcements included 230 aircraft.

Boeing left Farnborough with cumulative order activity for 139 airplanes totaling $15 billion. When options and purchase rights are included, total activity rises to 208 airplanes valued at $20.7 billion. Clearly highlighting this week's announcements from Boeing were orders for 63 Boeing 777 twinjets (plus an additional 17 options/purchase rights), which dominated the medium-sized jet transport category.

The regional manufacturers didn't draw quite the same amount of attention as at Paris last year, but left FI2000 with a respectable amount of new business. After scoring some major orders at both Paris '99 and at ILA Berlin this June, Embraer reached sales of $4.2 billion at the show. The Brazilian manufacturer also launched the new Legacy business jet and received another firm order from regular customer Continental Express for the new extended range model of the ERJ-145.

Bombardier announced 142 firm orders worth $3.1 billion for existing regional aircraft programs and an additional 34 orders and letters of agreement for the newly launched CRJ-900 worth $1 billion. The firm orders included the previously announced mega-order from Delta Air Lines.

EADS made its first major air show appearance this week. Co-CEOs Rainer Hertrich and Philippe Camus painted a bright future for the cross-border aerospace and defense company, despite the dismal performance of its IPO a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, the EADS leaders spoke with pride about the impressive product line now under their umbrella: the A3XX, Eurofighter, A400M, Eurocopter, and Ariane 5, to name a few. With just six months under its belt as a unified company, EADS will concentrate mainly on integration this year.

Topping the news on the military side was the arrival of seven European defense ministers to sign a commitment for up to 225 Airbus A400Ms. Europe is hoping this and other defense programs will create competition for the US aerospace giants. On the fighter side, Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet engaged in some friendly rivalry with the Eurofighter, the Lockheed F-16 and the Sukhoi Su-32 during the daily flying displays. The latter was the only representation from Russia in the fighter arena. Sukhoi took some heat at the show over alleged performance complaints made by the Indian Air Force relating to its recent delivery of Su-30s.

The debut of Farnborough in the new July timeframe drew mixed reviews. Show organizers were especially pleased by the record number of exhibit and chalet space booked, but we mostly heard grumbling from attendees about the show interfering with the European holiday season. This was compounded by the fact that the weather was just as dismal in July as it typically is in September. However, it looks like the July calendar spot is here to stay. FI2002 is booked for July 22-28.

There was a somber side to FI2000 as well. The Air France Concorde crash outside of Paris weighed heavily over the events, as many exhibitors and attendees were affected quite personally by the news.

But all in all, FI2000 met our expectations and then some in terms of news and industry developments. For the large majority of our readers who don't attend Farnborough, we hope our daily online coverage was able to bring a bit of the show to you. Look for the AWN photo gallery from FI2000 to appear on our pages soon!

- by Rebecca Rayko

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Day Four:
Thursday, July 27, 2000
Day Three:
Wednesday, July 26, 2000
Day Two:
Tuesday, July 25, 2000
Day One:
Monday, July 24, 2000

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