Jetmakers shrug off demand risks after mixed Farnborough

Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:23pm EDT
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By Tim Hepher

FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) - When a freak English summer storm flooded exhibition halls at this week's Farnborough Airshow, the stiff-lipped announcer told sodden aerospace executives: "Please do not panic: we will not evacuate at this stage."

It was a message meant to reassure, but not exactly guaranteed to inspire confidence.

After a chaotic and storm-ridden show, "keep calm and carry on" is also the message from the world's major jetmakers as they cling to bullish long-term forecasts despite economic and political concerns overshadowing aviation markets.

Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote), Boeing (BA.N: Quote) and Embraer (EMBR3.SA: Quote) all upgraded their demand forecasts this week. But orders were slower than some expected, with several airlines said to be holding off making decisions.

"People ask if this is showing the end of the cycle. I just have to say that ... we are on track as an industry for another good sales year and certainly on track for some really impressive delivery numbers," said Boeing marketing vice-president Randy Tinseth.

As Farnborough organizers rued their inadequate weather preparations, order announcements flowed in corporate chalets.

But they were reliant on a few players such as AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes, and some analysts say there are signs that while the jet industry remains standing, the roof is starting to leak.

That is especially true of wide-body long-haul jets, with the market struggling to absorb deliveries later this decade.   Continued...

An Airbus A350 aircraft flies in formation with Britain's Red Arrows flying display team at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, Britain July 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls