As we head into air show week, it might be worthwhile to consider that perhaps expectations for the show are too high. While airlines are doing better than last year, many are hoarding cash to repair balance sheets. Or they should be.
The biggest news at these shows has always been aircraft orders. Without doubt, had Emirates stored its A380 blockbuster order for the this show, it would have been mega-news. But announcing it at ILA was merely news. The reason for the timing was not to gather headlines anywhere else but Germany. The Germans (and French) are not keen on giving Emirates more slots and buying the EU jumbo jet was sending a signal – a very focused, local signal.
But looking ahead at the Farnborough show, we can expect some news from the Gulf carriers – perhaps some orders, but nothing as cataclysmic as the A380 order.
Perhaps the news will be more focused on smaller planes – the 100-seat market is the hottest right now. Indeed, anything under 160 seats is really the sweet spot. Airbus and Boeing are seeing their duopoly being gnawed at. Aeroflot is being essentially told by the Mr Putin to buy Russian planes. Qatar is toying with CSeries and the MRJ. China may, or may not, be sniffing at the CSeries. Will Airbus announce an A320RE? Lots of questions and little oddities. But nothing on the horizon that has people holding their breath.
There are reasons to believe that, perhaps, it might be best to reduce expectations. The aerospace industry and its airline customers all need some stability. Let’s hope for a show with no shocks – which is something that would actually benefit everyone.