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EDITIONS
Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Air show hit by downturn
This year's Farnborough Air Show, which gets under way this week, looks likely to be a more muted affair than usual.

Since 11 September, the airline industry has had to face up to serious overcapacity and orders for new planes are unlikely to match anything like the record $52bn (35bn) at the show two years ago.

World Trade Center on fire
The US attacks pushed airlines into steep losses
Boeing has decided not to "hold back" any signed orders for the air show, as is customary for many companies including arch-rival Airbus, claiming it distorts the market.

"I'd be surprised if we see much in the way of new orders and I don't think there's anything to rip the covers off this year," said David Solon, Senior Aviation Consultant at Avmark International.

A few orders are still expected though, including a 12 plane order from KLM.

Military display

On the military side, the war in Afghanistan has pushed up defence budgets, notably in the US, but the only serious losses have been of Afghan and Allied lives largely due to US bombs and missiles.

Northrop Grumann Globalhawk
Unmanned combat aircraft will be on display
But defence orders are expected to be thin on the ground.

"There won't be a lot," said Chris Avery, aviation analyst with JP Morgan, adding there may be a UK Government deal for BAE Systems' new Hawk trainer.

There will also be a naming ceremony for the Eurofighter, which went into production in April, which will be officially dubbed the Typhoon.

Farnborough will also offer the first chance to see some of the much talked about drones, or UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles), which have been battle-tested in Afghanistan and heavily deployed in Iraq with varying degrees of success.

New kit

The downbeat outlook is borne out by this year's exhibitor list and scaled back aerial displays.

There will be some 1,200 exhibitors, about the same number as two years ago.

As usual, there will be lots of new kit on show.

The Airbus large capacity A340-600, the rival of delayed Boeing 747-400ER, will make its first appearance with Virgin Atlantic as its launch customer.

Other debuts included the Augusta Westland Super Lynx 300 helicopter, Embraer's 70-seater 170 regional jet and the Antonov An-74tk-300 convertible passenger/cargo plane.

The Airbus 100-seater A318 and ultra-long range A340-500 will also put in an appearance, but Boeing will not have one passenger plane on display.

Those hoping for spectacular flying displays by combat planes might also be disappointed.

Fly-bys have been scaled back, with only the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin F-16, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab/BAE Gripen taking to the skies.


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17 Jul 02 | Business
01 Jul 02 | Business
11 Jun 02 | Business
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