With 2016 rapidly heading to a close, it seems like the ideal opportunity to reflect on what has been a breathless year.
The headlines have been dominated once again by the ‘big two’, Airbus and Boeing, which celebrated their 10,000th delivery and centennial anniversary respectively. But almost every major aerospace manufacturer reached one milestone or another. This is reflected in the number and variety of airliners that have emerged over the last 12 months. No fewer than four different types completed their first flights – the A321neo, 737 MAX, Embraer E-Jet E2 and, most recently, the A350-1000. Others, such as the A320neo and Bombardier C Series, have made their commercial debuts. However, with a paucity of new aircraft now under development, it may well be years before we see such a feat repeated on this scale.
It hasn’t all been good news. Terrorist attacks at airports in Brussels and Istanbul, and continued political and economic instability elsewhere, has put the industry under mounting pressure once again and this shows little sign of changing anytime soon.
Trade events often reflect the ups and downs of the industry and July’s Farnborough International Airshow was no exception. After a rather inauspicious start – punctuated by storms, localised flooding and power cuts – and an uncharacteristic lack of pre-show hype, it ultimately proved to be very much business as usual with several debutants in the static and flying displays. There was swagger aplenty as manufacturers defied the perceived industry slow-down to rack up an estimated $120bn in sales. Significantly, though, this was almost $50bn lower than the previous show. Perhaps 2017 will be a year of consolidation, more likely remembered for production ramp ups and record deliveries rather than multi-billion pound orders?
Finally, it just remains for me to thank you for your continued support over the last year. We’re very privileged to have such a strong and enthusiastic readership and I hope you continue to enjoy the magazine over the coming issues.
The e-newsletter will take a brief hiatus during the festive period, but normal service will resume on January 4.
From myself, Barry, James and the rest of the Airliner World team, we wish you a very enjoyable holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year.