Farnborough Airshow: Aircraft sales to hit $6.3tn on China trade

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The 2018 Farnborough International Airshow is the most important aviation trade show of the year.

Heading into the show, Airbus was closing in on orders totaling US$29 billion, based on list prices, from Taiwanese startup StarLux Airlines (星宇航空) and Malaysia's AirAsia Group Bhd.

European jetmaker Airbus and US rival Boeing have been enjoying an nearly decade-long boom thanks to rising emerging markets growth and a need among Western airlines to upgrade their fleets, and order books are bulging.

DHL Express, an global courier division of leading German logistics firm DHL, has agreed a deal with USA aerospace giant Boeing to purchase 14 of its 777 Freighters for a price of $4.7bn.

But analysts cautioned many deals firmed up provisional ones, disclosed previously unidentified buyers, or changed existing orders, making it hard to gauge the level of demand.

Boeing's forecasts underscored the sector's reliance on emerging markets in general and China in particular, making the USA planemaker especially vulnerable should trade tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate into a full trade war.

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However, while the air show is a key event for the industry.

The aircraft, to eventually replace the Typhoon fighter jet, would be developed and built by Britain's BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Italy's Leonardo, the source said.

According to Boeing, global air freight demand grew nearly 10% during 2017.

But he declined to be drawn into commenting on USA trade policy, saying: "We are going to focus on what we can control". It's a place where global industrial titans like Airbus and Boeing go head to head.

The Chicago-based planemaker now sees 31,360 deliveries in the medium-haul, single-aisle category, the cash cow of the world's top two planemakers and popular with low-priced airlines.

This will also be the first appearance for two new partnerships for Airbus and Boeing.

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Boeing's Tinseth said Airbus sought to show it was winning a sizable share of the aircraft market.

Even so, Boeing lowered its wide-body delivery forecast by 140 aircraft to 8,070, saying higher deliveries over the a year ago and longer-range single-aisle planes ate into the rolling forecast.

Also, he said, demand for cargo aircraft would also increase on the back of e-commerce, with Chinese traders and consumers accounting for the biggest single rise.

But business was brisk on the first day of the July 16-22 air show, though analysts will be watching closely to see how numerous deals are new, and how many involve adjusting earlier business or switching models - something not always easy to spot at first.

The largest manufacturer of jet engines, CFM International Inc, has a message for Airbus and Boeing executives who are mulling a boost in production of their narrow-body aircraft next decade: "not so fast".

More aircraft news will percolate up from London in the next few days. The firm delivered 763 jets in 2017. AirAsia would become the biggest customer for the marquee jet.

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