Spirit AeroSystems President and CEO Recaps 2018 Farnborough Airshow
Summertime is peak season for airshows around the world. Of the hundreds of airshows each year, there are a few standouts, like AirVenture in Oshkosh happening now, the Paris Airshow, which occurs in odd-numbered years, and the Farnborough Airshow which concluded July 22.
Farnborough is a small town about 40 miles southwest of London and it has hosted the airshow since 1948. The town and airshow have a rich aviation history, beginning with an Army Balloon Factory established at the beginning of the 20th century, the first powered flight in Britain, researching, development and testing for jet engines, and the Farnborough Airshow showcasing the latest technology in aviation every two years. The airshow is a key event that attracts hundreds of aerospace and defense companies from all over the world for several intensive days of meetings, exhibitions and announcements.
This year’s show concluded with more than 1,000 aircraft orders and commitments, roughly split between 30 percent as firm orders and 70 percent as commitments. Of those, the narrow body aircraft accounted for a majority of the announcements with 68 percent, followed by the regional jets at 22 percent and the wide-body aircraft at 10 percent. Overall, the orders and commitments announced totaled over $128 billion at list prices and highlight the importance of this event to the global aviation industry.
Spirit AeroSystems was proud to participate in the 2018 event and see many of our structures represented by the aircraft on display, like the Airbus A220, which includes a set of Spirit designed and produced engine pylon, the 737 MAX, the 787 and the A350-1000 fuselage sections built by Spirit factories around the world.
The Farnborough Airshow is an excellent opportunity to schedule meetings with customers, suppliers, advisers, government agencies, politicians and other industry partners. This year, Spirit hosted more than 300 meetings at our chalet during the first part of the week. My own schedule included 78 meetings over a five-day period.
Meetings at the annual Farnborough International Airshow occurred at a rapid pace with most sessions lasting only 30 minutes and are back to back…to back! The quick succession of meetings allowed for Spirit and other airshow participants to maximize their time and investment, meeting with many customers, government officials and suppliers in a short span of time like no other week in the year.
The Spirit chalet showcased a few of the research and development projects to our customers. We also had a virtual reality tour of our factory, where show participants could be virtually transported to one of our facilities and see some of Spirit’s many products and capabilities.