Record breaker set to net up to $57 Billion

Mike Martin

It's bigger than anything that's flown before, the subject of passionate debate and oodles of money is involved. But this is no "X" programme from the major airframers. This is Farnborough itself.

A memorable Farnborough indeed. It broke moulds and it broke records. There were a few broken hearts too.

The flags flying at half mast were a sombre reminder of the pall from Gonesse that hung over the show and the whole industry. In years to come, as with the assassination of Kennedy, we will all remember where we were when we heard that the Air France Concorde had crashed.

But the show always goes on and, at Farnborough 2000, it was building up a head of steam. At the time of writing, the value of deals struck at the show was north of $40 billion and you can throw in another $17 billion from the launch of the Airbus Military Company A400M military transport.

Put that into perspective. Last Farnborough saw $12 billion worth of deals struck: at Paris the figure hit $20 billion. They were all records. Farnborough 2000 could go down in history as the mother of all commercial shows.

A few highlights: the Boeing Joint Strike Fighter pavilion, some awesome flying by the Eurofighter Typhoon and a great leap forward on the "X" programmes for very large civil aircraft from Airbus Industrie and Boeing.

There were many changes, not least of which was the show's timing. The Society of British Aerospace Companies cunningly positioned the show in July to avoid the damp, cloudy days of September. Good thinking. Unfortunately, nobody told the weather. But the sunshine came too, at least part of the time.

Other innovations included a magnificent new media centre with not a strain gauge in sight, and a ruthless attention to traffic control. We all came to dread the ominous voice over the loudspeaker.... "will the owner of car number....." The stern voice of "Big Sister" struck terror into many a driver's heart. It turned into the show where everything got broken, except the rules of the road.

Source: Flight Daily News