Air Transport World

Farnborough '98: Calm before the storm?

The spotty weather inflicted on attendees of last month's Farnborough Air Show was a convenient metaphor for the unsettled economic state of the world's airline industry; mostly sunny with some clouds, passing showers and the threat of a substantially nasty blow. The negative aspects of this forecast were largely subdued, overwhelmed for the moment by the steady drumbeat of orders and business deals that kept the commercial participants happy and humming. Nevertheless, the thought remained an underlying theme.

John Cheffin, managing director of Rolls-Royce's airline business, put an upbeat twist on an ominous forecast note when he said that considering Rolls's backlog and market placement, "we have a very robust position as we enter into what we think will be very difficult times."

Minutes later, John Plueger, ILFC executive VP, defined his firm's judgment on the length of the decline during his announcement of an order for up to 10 Airbus A340-500/600s with Rolls power. …

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