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9 JULY 2012
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Britain’s ability to handle two major international events at virtually the same time (the Olympic athletes are beginning to arrive) will be put to the test this week with the opening of the Farnborough International Airshow today (9 July).
Early indications are that the aviation gathering is set for success although, with no major new aircraft, it will be less high profile than in previous years. Whether Airbus and Boeing continue with their silly game of announcing orders, provisional orders, letters of intent, and even reservations we wait to see. Business pages looking for ‘good news’ headlines will always take them up.
The airshow organiser, Farnborough International Ltd, has confirmed that exhibition halls are 100% sold, and has witnessed unprecedented interest from international businesses who now account for 55% of its total exhibitors’ space.
These now stand at 1,400 with country pavilions from the likes of Italy, France, Russia, USA and Mexico all filled with prospective business partners.
Firsts for the show this year include a civil delegations’ programme, the launch of the Aviation Security and Innovation Zone and the European debut of the Virgin Galactic, showcasing a full size replica of SpaceShip Two. Other initiatives include the ADS (industry) conference programme, Space Zone and Unmanned Systems Showcase.
It remains to be seen who actually turns out for the British Government. Clearly an industry minister or two, maybe transport. But nobody to answer questions on APD (Air Passenger Duty) or airports. With defence spending reduced, more and more commercial aviation is the way ahead and Farnborough the showroom. A robust British air transport industry will not prosper with crippling taxes. www.farnborough.com
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