Air Transport World

Oh, to be in England ...: soaring fuel costs have dimmed the profit outlook for airlines, but manufacturers see a recovery building.

Although the much-anticipated financial recovery of many of the world's airlines has been chilled by soaring fuel prices, this year's Farnborough International air show July 19-25 may generate plenty of heat as Airbus and Boeing resume and recast old arguments over state aid while promoting separate and distinct commercial visions. Certainly, with airline traffic returning to 2000 levels and two all-new large civil transport programs underway, the mood should be upbeat, or at least hopeful.

Show organizers claim that space sold out in February, and 1,154 exhibitors from more than 30 countries will be on hand. For the first time, trade tickets may be purchased online at www.Farnborough.com, and as of May sales of trade tickets had exceeded those for the same period in 2002, according to the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

Airbus arrives having outsold Boeing Commercial Air planes in tour of the past five years and in 2003 having out-produced the Seattle-based plane-maker for the first time as well. Last month, Airbus CEO and MD Noel Forgeard predicted that the company will maintain its lead in terms of sales for a third consecutive year and will deliver more aircraft than Boeing in 2004 and 2005. Through May 25 Airbus listed orders for 73 aircraft while through June 1 Boeing showed 68 gross orders and 66 net orders.

With rollout of the 550-seat A380 set to occur before year end and first flight scheduled for early 2005, Airbus is also on Cloud Nine when it comes to achieving its long-held goal of offering a complete product line from 100 to 500-plus seats. …

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