Farnborough 2018: widebody freighters, narrowbody pax

UK-based CargLogicAir added a fourth 747 freighter.

As has been the trend since last year’s Paris Air Show, headliner orders for large widebody passenger aircraft were once again absent. Deals involving narrowbody passenger jets and widebody freighters meanwhile, dominated the show. Also popular this year, were more opaque deals from unidentified customers. Orders for 325 aircraft were placed by unidentified carriers and lessors, some of them likely based in China and choosing to keep a lower-profile amidst the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Both Airbus and Boeing fared well, with Boeing announcing 673 orders and commitments during the show, and Airbus announcing 93 firm orders and 338 MoUs last week in Farnborough.

Unlike at shows in years past, giant orders for large widebody passenger aircraft were not the focus of this year’s show in Farnborough. Taiwan-based Starlux and another undisclosed customer signed MoUs for a total of twenty-five A350s, while Boeing registered a new purchase agreement with Novus Aviation Capital for four 777-300ERs (additionally, British Airways announced that it planned to lease three 777-300ERs, but the aircraft are part of a previously existing order).

Medium widebodies fared somewhat better, with Boeing taking firm orders from three customers for twenty-four 787 Family aircraft, plus commitments for eighteen from two others; while Airbus booked commitments for forty A330s from Air Asia X and an undisclosed customer.

The remainder of the 1,104 orders and commitments were for narrowbody passenger aircraft plus a small number of mostly widebody freighters.

As was the case in Paris last year, the lack of large widebody orders stems from slowing of the region that has been most hungry for the airframe size category. Carriers in the Gulf Region, such as Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways each already maintain huge fleets of widebody passenger jets and have many more already on order, despite recent cutbacks.

The chart at right shows orders and commitments involving freighters.

We looked at the individual freighter-conversion orders in detail last week as they were announced, and you can read about them as follows:

And, finally, in addition to the mainline jets shown above, twelve carriers placed orders and commitments for a total of 208 regional jets and turboprop aircraft, the clear winner being the ERJ 175 which racked up 127 orders and commitments from three customers.

Those interested in learning more about freighters and passenger-to-freighter conversions of all size categories are invited to join us at the Omni San Diego 10-12 October, for Cargo Facts Symposium. To check out this year’s agenda, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com

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