Lessons From Farnborough

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The Farnborough International Airshow ended Thursday after seeing roughly 820 passenger aircraft sold but relatively little movement of high-profile aircraft like Boeing's 787 and Airbus' A350 widebody, and none for the A380. Orders for Airbus and Boeing aircraft appear to have topped out somewhere near $28 billion as measured by non-discounted list prices, and accounting for about 237 jetliners. That triples sales seen at the Paris Airshow, last year, according to Bloomberg news. Narrow-body aircraft accounted for nearly all the aircraft sold and that made Embraer a relative winner, selling about 44 Embraer 190 jetliners. The big two, Airbus and Boeing, saw most demand for their 737-800 and A320 narrow-body jetliners, respectively. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner made its international debut at the show and the manufacturer may have been surprised by buyers' reaction.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner left the grounds after a two-day stay and earned only three sales. U.S. carrier American Airlines is expecting deliveries of the 787 but has learned not to expect them until 2014 thanks to program delays. The relatively high demand for smaller passenger jets at Farnborough fits with Boeing's recent market forecast. Coming off the show, Airbus now expects to win orders for more than 400 jets this year and Boeing has raised its target. The orders coincide with a growth in passenger traffic at the airlines that has increased above early 2008 (pre-recession) numbers.