Farnborough Air Show preview

The Farnborough Air Show is just around the corner, and we don’t expect the event to be especially newsworthy.

Here are our expectations for the show:

Market expectations are that Airbus will launch the A330neo at the air show, and we know John Leahy, COO of Customers, would like to do so at this event. His bosses, Fabrice Bregier and Tom Enders, have been less than encouraging that this announcement could come at the show.

Although news stories last week indicated Airbus’ board may green light the program in advance of the FAS, it was nonetheless reported that a formal public launch may not be made at the show. So what might happen? An “Authority to Offer,” or ATO, might be how Airbus proceeds. We don’t think there will be firm orders ready to go when the FAS begins July 14—although certainly Airbus could also take Boeing’s 777X approach and announce “commitments” as was done at the Dubai Air Show.

We are skeptical whether there might be any A330 Classic orders announced, as customers await the neo. We certainly expect the usual orders for the A320 Family. We expect A350 orders. We’re doubtful of A380 orders.

We think it’s very possible some of those Dubai 777X orders could be firmed up at FAS. Boeing will try hard to get some 777 Classic orders—there have been only a handful this year so far—to bolster its (highly dubious) claim it will be able to bridge the Classic to the X at current production rates.

There haven’t been any 787-10 orders since last year—could there be some announced at FAS? We’ll see.

We are doubtful of 747-8 orders, though we’ll concede there might be a few—but nothing to give confidence in this program’s future.

Certainly there will be 737 MAX orders and perhaps a few NGs.

BBD typically does poorly at air shows, so we don’t have high expectations for FAS.

Look for more E-Jet E2 orders and maybe some E1s, but nothing earth-shaking.

Rumors persist that ATR could launch a 90-seat, new-design turbo-prop, but at last month’s Airbus Innovation Days, Airbus Commercial CEO Bregier said that with 75% of the turbo-prop market, why does ATR need to launch a new plane now? Remember, Airbus owns 50% of ATR and can block any program launch.

We don’t expect anything of consequence from Mitsubishi, Irkut or COMAC.

We expect a lot of orders to be announced from CFM and Pratt & Whitney in conjunction with 737 MAX and A320neo orders. As for GE and Rolls-Royce, these will likewise follow the airframe orders.

All-in-all, we expect a pretty boring show.

14 Comments on “Farnborough Air Show preview

  1. The ATR 90 seater will definitely NOT be launched. Airbus as well as ATR itself made that clear lately. An EIS can now be expected not eariler than 2022.

  2. ” All-in-all, we expect a pretty boring show.”

    Always depends on your personal agenda. Will Leeham & news be represented?

    • Leeham Co EU will be at the show this year. Having an associate in Europe makes this much easier to attend.

  3. Anyway, putting Farnborough into mid-July is not doing anything in the way of better Image&Prestige as an Event … why do we want to wear our best blue-dress in 34 ºC ? l much preferred when Press Day was set around third week of September, as in the Old Days ?

    • 34C? At Farnborough? Highly unlikey! 24C much more likely.

  4. If the historical widebody production is between 200 to 300 units per year, the future production might be between 300 to 400 units per year. Is there a possibility that the entire market could be covered by the 787 and the A350? Something similar to the 737 and A320? The A330neo and the 777x have to produce a return on investment. Given the A380 and 747-8, I think the manufacturers will proceed with caution.

  5. Is there a possibility that the entire market could be covered by the 787 and the A350?


    Add A330neo, 777X, A380 while the 747-8I seems to be nearing the end.

    Post 2025, Airbus could very well be offering an all new mega twin as well.

    • Similar to what Boeing is doing with the new 777X-wing, Airbus might be looking at increasing the span by some 4-4.5 meters. Unlike the 777X, though, the A330neo won’t need folding wing tips.

    • Interesting – that’s a bit of a deviation from the minimum-change philosophy touted previously. As the article implies, adding this would be a very good reason for not yet launching it at Farnborough (although AtO would make sense, I think).
      I’m probably not the only one who’d be curious to hear what exactly those modifications would entail and by how much they are supposed to reduce fuel burn.
      Seems they’re really trying to get as close to the 787’s economics as possible.

    • Another interesting bit in the article – Fabrice Bregier has called on the European countries to “react” to Boeing’s 8.7 billion dollar tax break, suggesting the possibility of financial support for the future A380neo.

      FB: “This is BS. Can I get some too, please?” 😉

  6. This interview (in French) with Fabrice Bregier is worthwhile. This is what he says about the launch of the A330-NEO:

    Q. Will you launch the A330 NEO at the Farnborough Airshow?

    A. There’s still a bit of time until Farnborough. We progressing well with our studies, but there are ongoing negotiations. The Airshow is is a bit too early. In any case we are not bound by that. When you commit to programs like these, you need to be confident of meeting your promised performance and your delivery dates as well as having a detailed understanding of the costs and investments. We weren’t able to launch the A320 NEO at the 2010 le Bourget Show, but that didn’t stop it having the success we all know about. I have only been evaluating the A330 NEO for six months, which is a bit short. We have said we will take a decision before the end of the year. I am still holding to that, even if we hope to shorten the time taken and come back quickly to the market with a response.

    — Expect an announcement about the A330 NEO a month or so after Farnborough. The wings will require significant aerodynamic adjustments to accommodate efficiently the bigger fan size and weight of the new engines. I guess that means that he is not prepared to offset aerodynamic costs against the SFC gains on the new engine. The overall efficiency improvement of the plane has to be the same as the SFC improvement of the engine

    Mr Bregier seems still to be committed to the A350-800 but accepts it will require more optimization.


  7. Some will accuse me to work for BOEING!! Unfortunately, as I am 84, they refuse to let me do so!!

    When I review what AIRBUS’ top managers tell and write, persons otherwise with a lot of savoir faire, I have a distinct filling that regarding the WIDE BODY sector, a panic has broken out, induced by the frustrations caused by the long chain of problems happened since the last success since A330!!
    A350 first version, A358,
    A380 (where after only 5 years operation, a clamor to be saved by a neo is rising), A380F,
    and now the issue with the A3510.

    The Blogger Keesje has asked why really the future B777X is sales-wise so successful in front of the future A3510. Of course, they are objective reasons, but more so these fracas has simply eroded the confidence in AIRBUS. The very doubtful hype of the A330neo does not help either except with some enthusiastic bloggers!

    And for the sake o Airbus, let hope that the sudden (understandable for the 20 A350110) cancellation of the 50 A359, just in the wake of its Flight tests, is not related to something more grave as overweight revealed by these Tests!!

    Of course, immediately could be countered that why then the B787 is still selling undeterred!. It is because there was no significant issue with the design of the B787-8, only a (grave( problem with the quality, design and/or functionality of 2nd party suppliers, badly coordinated by a not functional much hyped “global) project management system. But these issues and gaffes were clearly correctable (as the B787-9 seems to show) , differently to the AIRBUS ones, which were much deeper and systematic,

    Rmedies?? Accept that the mistakes incurred will have very serious consequence during the next years and attack immediately the implmentation of newly desined aircraft. And the company wuld be well advised to look seriously on their planning and design responsibles!!

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