Normally, the first day of a major European Airshow, Paris in odd years and Farnborough in even years, brings a spate of new aircraft orders, with the second day typically a bit larger, the third similar to the first, and the fourth spotty.
This year brought only 153 first day orders at Paris. This is the lowest total in quite some time, reflecting two factors – the grounding of the 737 MAX and the expected downturn in the market as airlines and OEMs “catch up” to the record backlog levels they have enjoyed during the last few years. The following table shows day 1 orders for recent air shows:
As a leading indicator, this may suggest the potential for an economic recession in late 2020 or early 2021, but that could change once the 737 MAX returns to service. The market turmoil, demand for interim lift while the MAX is grounded, and uncertainty regarding international trade all are having impacts on potential aircraft orders. Farnborough 2020 will either confirm the trend, on indicate a one-time blip, as happened in 2016. Given the long-term demand trends in the industry, we believe it to be the latter rather than the former.