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.
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.
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
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
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