Focus turns military at Farnborough
The aviation industry's largest airshow was shifting its focus to military firepower on Tuesday against a backdrop of tighter budgets, while commercial air carriers were still buying planes in bulk.india Updated: Jul 20, 2010 22:47 IST
The aviation industry's largest airshow was shifting its focus to military firepower on Tuesday against a backdrop of tighter budgets, while commercial air carriers were still buying planes in bulk.
Flybe signed for up to $5 billion in planes from Brazilian group Embraer, and more orders were expected for Boeing and Airbus.
Commercial and military are in sharp contrast — the private sector is spending more freely than it has in the past two years, while Britain's defence secretary, Liam Fox, was expected to outline plans to cut procurement spending and demand better value for taxpayers' money at the Farnborough Airshow.
British business secretary Vince Cable said on Monday that painful cuts in the defence budget were imminent, and other European countries have made clear their own defence expenditures were under some of the closest scrutiny ever.
While that caution has not stopped ostentatious displays of fighter jet capabilities, it has subdued the tenor of the show.
It has also put more focus on commercial sales, particularly from new markets likely to be growth drivers for the sector in coming years.
"Demand from airliners is mainly coming from Asia, South America, Middle East and even Russia," said Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners. "My question is, where are the European and American orders? Will they be here in the next two years? That's unlikely. The airline industry's better than it was but it's still not fully fit."