FARNBOROUGH: Airliner markets return, but only slowly

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Airbus and Boeing have arrived at the Farnborough air show with backlogs still close to historic highs, despite the dramatic fall in new net orders that has followed the credit crunch.

Analysis of Flightglobal's leading ACAS fleet database shows that while the massive ramp-up in orders may have collapsed over the past two years, by the end of June the two manufacturers still held a combined backlog of 6,555 aircraft (4,165 narrowbodies and 2,390 widebodies).

That is down a relatively modest 10% from the peak of two years ago, when numbers hit 7,299, but it still more than twice the volume at the height of the last boom a decade ago.

Airbus, boosted by the Emirates order for 32 A380s, comes to the show with its widebody backlog at an historic high.

The United Airlines order for 25 Boeing 787s and 25 Airbus A350s helped to push the net order intake for widebodies to 122 in the first half of 2010.

A year ago, in the wake of the Paris air show, the first-half net orders for widebodies stood at a negative -34 after a wave of cancellations.

Narrowbody net orders have still to show any signs of recovering after their dramatic slide of the past three years, standing at just 91 new net orders for the first half of 2010, below the 150 posted at the half-way stage last year.

On Wednesday, Flightglobal will be unveiling early outputs from its fleet forecasting project from the show at Chalet A25.