Order backlogs, Brexit concerns, slowing demand in Asia - pressure on the aircraft industry is mounting. And yet the two biggest players came out with big deals and high hopes at the sector's key trade show.
The world's two biggest aircraft manufacturers defied economic headwinds at the Farnborough trade show on Monday, as they announced new deals and raised their demand forecasts.
European giant Airbus revealed that Virgin Atlantic had ordered 12 wide-bodied A350-1000 jets worth a total of $4.4 billion (3.9 billion euros).
US rival Boeing meanwhile said that China's state-owned Xiamen Airlines had expressed interest in 30 single-aisle 737 MAX 200 planes - a deal that would amount to $3.39 billion (3.07 billion euros).
The two leading plane producers traditionally compete for the most spectacular order announcements at the biennial Farnborough airshow, which opened Monday southwest of London.
Ahead of the trade show, some analysts had warned that short-term shocks could trigger a decline in the global aircraft industry.
The expected fallout from the UK's decision to leave the European Union especially overshadowed the fair's opening, after some airlines had posted profit warnings.
But industry leaders Boeing and Airbus shrugged off market concerns, despite record order backlogs.
They both raised their demand forecasts and predicted passenger traffic to grow steadily over the next 20 years.
"Despite recent events that have impacted the financial markets, the aviation sector will continue to see long-term growth," Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told news agency Reuters.
mrk/jtm (Reuters, AFP)