Beyond the headlines – what does the Farnborough International Airshow really mean for the international aerospace industry?

Simon Ford, Head of Sales and Sponsorship at Farnborough International Ltd talks about other business that took place at the Airshow.

For the large commercial and defence manufacturers, the Farnborough International Airshow provides a major chest-thumping opportunity to boast orders and promote their latest aircraft. The headlines are often about this healthy competition and aircraft and engine announcements.

2012, aircraft orders are 50% higher and engine orders are more than double. Furthermore, manufacturers are predicting continued demand for new aircraft. Due to growth in low-cost carriers and emerging markets, Boeing is predicting that passenger traffic will grow by 4.8 percent over the next 20 years resulting in 39,620 new aircraft worth $8.9 trillion over the next two decades.  

Beyond the deals, forecasts and predictions, the Farnborough International Airshow is very much the event for the supply chain to do business.

During the Farnborough Airshow, our analyst recorded over US$7billion worth of ‘other’ deals at the show. Notably, Esterline signed deals with Pilatus, the Finnish Air Force and Antonov to provide cockpit avionics equipment and Strata Manufacturing signed deals with Airbus and Boeing for components.

Enterprise Florida, which bought 11 small businesses to the show also reported US$10.5million in deals and estimated a further US$73.2million in projected export sales as a result of the being at Farnborough.

Manny Mencia, Senior Vice President for International Trade and Development for Enterprise Florida said, “The Farnborough International Airshow continues to provide huge opportunities and contacts for our small and mid-size exporters. The state is a global player in the aviation and aerospace industry, and our success at Farnborough perfectly illustrates that fact!”

On this side of the Atlantic, Fareham-based Barnbrook Systems signed a contract at the show to supply its cutting-edge fuel switch to international aerospace, defence and security giant Leonardo-Finmeccanica for its class-leading AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter. This is an excellent example of how SME businesses can do business at the show.

As well as firm deals, there were also a variety of agreements made across the supply chain reflecting future business opportunities. While no figures were announced for these agreements they reflect the importance for Farnborough as a place to meet and do business.  

- Dowty Propellers signed agreements at the show with Xi’An Aircraft Company (a subsidiary of AVIC China) to provide propeller systems for its MA700 twin-engine, medium-range turboprop airliner currently under development.

- UTC Aerospace Systems and Fokker Technologies signed a new MOU which will see the two businesses working together to explore the development of integrated electrical solutions for more electric aircraft.

- Crane Aerospace was appointed by Woodard to provide proximity switches that will be used in Woodward’s thrust reverser actuation system on the A330 neo commercial jet with Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

So while the Farnborough International Airshow may create headlines for the big industry players, the supply chain is reaping the rewards.