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Despite predictions this would be a disappointing year for commercial aircraft sales – following years of record-setting deals and the unknowns of Britain’s exit from the European Union – this year’s Farnborough International Airshow beat expectations with $124 billion of orders and options for aircraft, engines, and supply chain orders confirmed.

Farnborough International’s internal order tracker recorded a total of 856 aircraft valued at $93.9 billion, 1,407 engines valued at $22.7 billion, and a variety of other business deals totaling $9.5 billion during the week-long show. By the close of day three, the order total had crept up to $85 billion, beating the totals from the 2015 Paris Airshow.

For the supply chain, the Meet-The-Buyer program proved popular with 1,680 meetings taking place between 40 buyers from 13 countries and 177 suppliers, to allow companies of all sizes to form new business relationships with international companies.

“While the Tier One companies have been announcing large orders, we’ve seen an increase in activity and announcements from the supply chain companies too,” reports show management’s commercial director, Amanda Stainer.

Notable deals during the show included Virgin Atlantic concluding its purchase for 12 Airbus A350-1000s and the U.K. government confirming the purchase of 50 Boeing Apache helicopters and nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft. Topping the order chart was AirAsia, which signed up for 100 Airbus A321neo (new engine option) airliners.

Farnborough International CEO Shaun Ormrod says, “With these orders adding to the already large backlog, it looks like the aerospace industry is going to be busy for some years to come.”


Airbus tallied $35 billion of aircraft orders for a total of 279 aircraft at Farnborough. Boeing logged customer orders and commitments for 182 commercial airplanes, valued at $26.8 billion.

Cargo conversions to extend the economic life of passenger airliners are gaining traction. DHL Express placed the launch order for the Airbus A330-300 passenger-to-freighter conversion program, and 10 new orders and commitments were announced for Boeing’s 737-800 and 767 freighter conversions.

Boeing officials celebrated the company’s 100th anniversary with a pavilion of interactive exhibits to commemorate its first century and its plans for the future. The largest commercial services order in Boeing history comes from Norwegian, the airline covering its 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner fleet through 2034.

Boeing also revealed its new Current Market Outlook at the show, forecasting a demand for 39,620 new airplanes valued at $5.9 trillion in the next 20 years.

Kalstar Aviation, an Indonesian regional operator, placed a firm order for five Embraer E190-E2s. With five aircraft as options, the contract is valued at $582 million if all the purchase rights are confirmed. The E-Jets E2 backlog now is 272 firm orders plus 388 letters of intent, options, and purchase rights from airlines and leasing companies.

Embraer and Boeing finalized an agreement to jointly market and support the KC-390, a multi-mission transport and aerial refueling aircraft. The companies will together pursue new business opportunities for the aircraft, with Embraer providing the aircraft and Boeing responsible for in-service support.

Engine makers benefit

Iceland-based WOW air selected CFM International CFM56-5B engines to power four new Airbus A321ceo (current engine option) family aircraft. The firm engine order is valued at $85 million at list price.

GE Aviation finalized agreements with IHI Corp., Safran Aircraft Engines, and Safran Aero Boosters as participants in the GE9X engine program. GE9X engine program participants produce about 25% of the components for the GE9X engine that will power the Boeing 777X aircraft.

IHI, a long-time partner with GE, is responsible for the design and manufacturing of various components in the low-pressure turbine and the fan mid-shaft.

Safran Aircraft Engines is responsible for the design and manufacturing of the 3D-woven composite forward fan case, the turbine rear frame, and participates with GE on the composite fan blades through CFAN, its 50/50 joint venture company.

Safran Aero Boosters is responsible for the design and manufacturing of the low pressure compressor as well as manufacturing the fan disk.

MTU Aero Engines AG, another GE9X engine program participant, is responsible for the design and manufacturing of the turbine center frame.

With almost 700 on order, the GE9X 100,000 lb thrust class engine has a 134”diameter front fan in a composite fan case with 16 fourth-generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. GE9X engine certification is anticipated in 2018.

Commercial jet aircraft leasing company AWAS is spending $320 million for CFM International CFM56-5B engines to power 10 new Airbus A320ceo jetliners, part of a 15-aircraft order the company announced with Airbus.

Standard Chartered Bank has ordered CFM International CFM56-7B engines to power 10 Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s. The order is valued at $224 million.

Hong Kong-based China Aircraft Leasing Company (CALC) also selected CFM56-5B engines to power 20 firm and up to five options of new Airbus A320ceo family aircraft. The firm engine order is valued at $430 million with deliveries scheduled between 2017 and 2018.

TUI Group’s order for 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will be powered by $200 million of CFM International’s LEAP-1B engine. The same engine will power Air Europe’s 20 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. That engine order is valued at more than $800 million, including a maintenance agreement. Topping the list, AirAsia has ordered 200 additional CFM International LEAP-1A engines to power 100 new Airbus A321neo announced at the show. The order is valued at $2.7 billion at list prices.

GE Aviation and its joint venture companies including CFM International, its 50/50 joint company between GE and Snecma (Safran), obtained more than $25 billion in orders and commitments at Farnborough including more than 800 GE and CFM engines and maintenance.

Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, awarded Rolls-Royce a $900 million contract for Trent 1000 engines to power 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The contract also includes long-term support.

Rolls-Royce also won a $900 million order from Virgin Atlantic for Trent XWB engines and long term services for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, including four leased aircraft with engines already ordered.

Rolls-Royce obtained a production contract worth $216 million for the LiftSystems that provide powered vertical lift to the F-35B Lightning II. The agreement with F-35 propulsion integrator Pratt & Whitney will include 13 LiftSystems, plus additional program labor, spares, and tooling for low rate initial production series 9.

Berlin-based Germania selected Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Geared Turbofan engines for up to 40 A320neo aircraft.

MRO agreements

Lufthansa Technik will become Pratt & Whitney’s principal provider of mobile engine maintenance services for V2500, PW1100G-JM, PW1500G, and PW1900G engines.

Lufthansa Technik AG and GE Aviation reached long-term agreements for maintenance services for the GE9X and GEnx-2B engines. The GE Branded Services Agreements (GBSA) for the GE9X and GEnx-2B include provisions for technical support and assistance on overhaul workscoping, component repair licenses, joint repair development, and training.

Volga-Dnepr Group expanded its flight hour agreement with GE for the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of 88 additional GEnx-2B engines that power its Boeing 747-8 freighters. The agreement is valued at nearly $1.4 billion for the life of the contract.

Other highlights

Lockheed Martin’s F-35B made its long-awaited Farnborough debut at this year’s air show. A U.S. Marine Corps aviator put the aircraft in U.K. markings through a series of vertical flight maneuvers reminiscent of those once demonstrated by the AV-8 Harrier it replaces.

Norsk Titanium also had a Farnborough debut, sharing details about its additive manufacturing technology that creates aerospace-grade, structural titanium components in near-net form by laying down successive beads of laser-melted wire.

More than 360 American exhibitors were on site, nearly one-quarter of the show’s projected total, and the largest international contingent outside of the U.K. More than 220 U.S. exhibitors from 31 states were represented in Kallman Worldwide’s U.S. International Pavilion, including 14 state pavilions. Fifty-five percent of pavilion exhibitors were small and medium enterprises. A new feature was The Hub, a forum for connecting suppliers and manufacturers.

Farnborough International Airshow

Eric Brothers is senior editor of Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He can be reached at 216.393.0228 or