Global supply chain and labour shortages dominated discussion at the Farnborough International Airshow this week (18 to 22 July), which made its return after a three-year hiatus.
The world’s biggest aerospace event, which alternates with the Paris Airshow, saw a muted five-day programme this year, reduced from its usual week-long line-up of festivities, and only ‘patchy orders’ compared to previous years, according to a Reuters report.
Boeing dominated the show with some 167 firm orders, including deals with Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways, Vietjet, Azerbaijan Airlines and Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Delta placed an order for 100 Boeing 737 Max 10 jets in a deal reportedly worth $13.5 billion, which includes an option for 30 more planes.
Qatar Airways finalised an order of 25 Max 10 aircraft as part of a $3.4 billion deal, while VietJet confirmed a deal worth $35 billion for 200 737 Max jets.
Tokyo-based ANA ordered 20 737 Max 8 airplanes, while the Azerbaijan flag carrier confirmed a deal for four fuel-efficient 787-8s.
The influx of Max orders could signify the aircraft’s resurgence following two fatal crashes in 2019 and a worldwide grounding of the fleet for two years.
Airbus, meanwhile, secured an order for 12 A220s from Delta, and signed a previously announced deal for 56 A321neo jets from British low-cost carrier easyJet following shareholder approval. LATAM Airlines also ordered 17 A321neo aircraft.
Amid a post-pandemic rebound marred by worker shortages, rising fuel prices and mounting fears of a Euro-zone recession, discussion at the show focused on industry concerns rather than investment opportunities.
A lack of raw materials and parts is also creating delivery delays for aircraft manufactures Boeing and Airbus, where suppliers face lead times of between six to 12 months to source materials, according to a Reuters report.
In May, Boeing said production of its 737 Max aircraft was delayed due to shortages of a particular wiring connector. Airbus, meanwhile, is battling engine shortages as it tries to ramp up production in anticipation of higher demand.
The week’s record-breaking heatwave also provided a less-than-ideal business backdrop, underlining how carbon emissions produced by aviation contribute to climate change and renewing calls to improve decarbonisation efforts.