3 Trends: Farnborough International Airshow 2018

— Naiema Ashraf 

The UK’s biggest air show began in Farnborough this week and we’ll be onsite taking in the spectacular flying displays on Friday. Whilst the show takes place bi-annually, every year Farnborough out-does itself – in 2016, order announcements reached $124 billion, with attendance from 50+ countries and more than 200,000 attendees.

A few days in and we’re already seeing key trends and themes from the show:

Brexit Is the Talk of the Town

Theresa May opened the show on Monday 16 July and shared her plan to boost the UK’s aerospace industry through an extra investment of £300 million of government and industrial funding, only a few weeks after Airbus threatened to reduce its UK presence due to Brexit disruptions.

The extra pocket money will cover a variety of projects, such as research for more eco-friendly aircraft and two new spaceports in Cornwall and Scotland. The UK’s aerospace industry generates a £60 billion turnover and supports more than one million jobs nationally. The trade association, ADS, warned that the sector could be paralysed if Britain leaves the EU customs union and single market, but has since welcomed the government’s plan despite the fact that complex issues still need to be resolved.

All of the Trade Deals

Within a few days, top players Airbus and Boeing racked up more than $55 billion in trade deals with the popular Airbus A320neo family and the Boeing 7373 MAX aircraft. Sales and commitments were made by a variety of airliners; some remain unnamed, but confirmed startups include JetBlue and StarLux Airlines, as well as Air Lease Corporation, India’s Jet Airways and Brazilian airline, Gol.

Consulting firm IBA forecasts orders will top 900 over the course of the trading week, with preference towards Airbus neo and Boeing MAX families (I think they’re onto something). Sales at recent air shows have been boosted by new aircraft models, and though the media’s been focused on the potential launch of Boeing’s New Midsized Airplane, IBA predicts plenty of hype but no launch at the show.  

Keeping up with Aero

Last year, Farnborough International Airshow launched its new Aerospace 4.0, focusing on ‘The future starts here’. As we know, industry 4.0 promises to revolutionise and transform the manufacturing sector, and aero is one of the leading industries. Aerospace 4.0 will allow the industry to look at innovation from a digital mindset for further development in the coming year, making flying safer and more efficient for everyone.

This year’s biggest launches are Airbus’s record-breaking solar planes and the new fighter jet, Tempest, both of which were unveiled earlier this week. The solar plane is an unmanned craft known as Zephyr, which can stay in the air for weeks at a time. Also announced at the show, the Tempest is expected to replace the UK’s Typhoon fighter jet and is due to be developed and built by BAE Systems. With investments as high as £2 billion, the programme ensures UK’s continued leadership in fighter technology and control of air space. Aero giant Airbus has welcomed the UK’s commitment of funding for the future fighter project.

All in all, it’s been an exciting week for the aerospace industry so far – we’re expecting billions more to be spent and more innovative technology announcements to be led out the UK. Stay tuned as WE’s aviation geeks attend the show later this week to share the greatest displays on our social channels.

You can visit Farnborough International Airshow today until Sunday 22, July 2018 to experience it all first-hand!