Aviation industry pins hopes on Farnborough 2022 for revival

Farnborough Air Show returns after four years, first major airshow after Covid-19



July 17, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Aviation industry pins hopes on Farnborough 2022 for revival

Farnborough Air Show to mark beginning of a swift recovery for the aviation industry which has been adversely damaged by the pandemic

Having been battered by the pandemic and the consequent decimation of aviation industry, most stakeholders look for start of a rapid recovery at the Farnborough Air Show set to start tomorrow in the United Kingdom.

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Though global civil aviation has been returning to normalcy for the past few months, after an unprecedented slowdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19, in many ways it is Monday that marks the return to things as they were before the pandemic as Farnborough Air Show returns in its in-person format in Surrey, United Kingdom.

One of the world’s largest air shows, alongside Paris Airshow, Farnborough is returning for the first time since 2018, with the usual flying displays by various civil and military aircraft as well as showcasing of the latest technological developments in the global aviation industry.

The participation at the event is also expected to reach close to the pre-pandemic numbers, say the organisers. A total of 12 aircraft are scheduled to show-off their capabilities in flying displays that would be held every day of the show, from July 18-22. The flight displays include fly-pasts by several teams, such Red Arrows of the Royal Air Force and the Black Eagles of South Korean Air Force.

Other major flight displays include the US-made F-35 stealth fighter jet and Turkish drones, while Boeing’s pilotless electric air taxi will make its European debut. Airbus and Boeing will showcase their latest twin-aisle passenger aircraft, the A350-900 and the 777X. An estimated 80,000 trade visitors will flock to the five-day event.

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Aviation revival in the works

After having remained grounded for over 30 months due to the pandemic-induced travel bans, there have been signs of revival of the aviation industry over the past few months, notably since the beginning of the year as international travel returned faster than expected.

Many aviation companies are using the revival to renew their fleet, with fuel-efficient aircraft as well as more modern amenities to cater to the demanding passenger of today. Notably, Air India, the recently-privatised national carrier of India, is said to be finalising a deal for 300 Boeing 737 Max aircraft. A number of airlines have signed up for Boeings and Airbus aircraft over the past six months. While Airbus has reported 259 net orders, taking its total outstanding orders to 7,046 aircraft. The Airbus order book for 2022 is dominated by four big orders. Aircraft lessor BOC Aviation will buy 80 aircraft, while Australia’s Qantas Airways to pick up 52, and two undisclosed customers have ordered 54 and 46 aircraft respectively, says Airbus.

Both the aircraft makers, along with smaller players like Brazil’s Embraer or private jet makers like GulfStream and Dassault Aviation are banking on clinching many more orders at the Airshow from tomorrow. Indeed, one can expect the customary announcements being made at Farnborough by the two giant rivals from Monday morning itself, as each firm tries to upstage the other.

On the defence side, too, a number of orders are expected and not just from the usual buyers like India or the Gulf countries. The war in Ukraine as well as rising tensions in East Asia, between China and its neighbours is likely to drive the demand for a variety of military aircraft. For instance, the Indian Air Force is reportedly finalising details for its Request for Proposals for 114 multi-role fighter aircraft in a deal expected to top USD 20 billion.

While Ukraine War is expected to boost defence deals, it may also simultaneously hurt tourism and consequently civil aviation as well. Some of the major themes to be focus segments for the air show include decarbonisation and sustainability, as well as cutting edge technologies like electric and hydrogen-fuelled planes.

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