Farnborough 2016: Despite heavy rain, the show was anything but a washout

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Bombardier showcased its CS100, decked out in the livery of launch customer Swiss Air Lines. Rich Cooper Photo
More than 100 aircraft types attended the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow held July 11 to 17 at Farnborough Airport, U.K. The event welcomed 73,000 trade visits over the week, despite torrential rains disrupting the first three afternoon airshows.
However, the sun was shining on the order front with over US$120 billion worth of orders and options confirmed, beating last year’s Paris Air Show figures. Standout orders came from Air Asia, which acquired 100 Airbus A321neos, and Virgin Atlantic, which confirmed the purchase of 12 Airbus A350-1000s.
The show buzzed with talk of the Bombardier C Series launch customer, Swiss International Air Lines, making its first commercial flight between Zurich and Paris during Farnborough week. Whilst no C Series orders were forthcoming at the show, Bombardier proudly displayed the aircraft in the distinctive Swiss livery, and received huge interest from delegates, airline leaders and the media. Bombardier also confirmed an order for three Q400s from Porter Airlines, in a deal which, at list price, is worth US$93 million. This brings Porter’s exclusively Q400 fleet to a total of 29 aircraft. 
Once the clouds lifted, visitors were treated to some dramatic flying displays. The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter opened the air demonstration flanked by the U.K.’s display team, the Red Arrows. The fighter’s gravity-defying ability thrilled onlookers, but it remains unclear whether the Canadian administration is equally thrilled enough to confirm the original intent to purchase. 
More than 100 aircraft types attended the show and the event welcomed 73,000 trade visits over the week. Rich Cooper Photo
The Airbus A350 also debuted in the air, validating its flexible handling with a near vertical takeoff. Airbus Group used the show to buoy up interest in its big sister, the A380, in the same week it confirmed that a sluggish order book has resulted in slowing production to one a month by 2018. Boeing also debuted the 737 MAX, impressing the crowds with its agile flight capabilities. The Airbus A320neo was notably absent from the aerial manoeuvres, but won out on orders in the annual air framer duopoly league.
Whilst the large jet airliners dominated the skies, it was a good show for the turboprop fraternity. Pratt and Whitney Canada (P&WC) confirmed it has been named as the engine supplier to the Ankara, Turkey-based aviation company TRJet. The program will use a new version of the PW127 turboprop engine to power TRJet’s new TRP328 turboprop aircraft. The new TRP328 engine program will commence in late 2016 at P&WC’s Longueuil, Que., facility. P&WC has already been selected to supply the engines for the TRJ328 jet variant, a modernized version of the Dornier 328.
P&WC is also predicting a boost in business resulting from a European regulatory change that will allow single-engine instrument flight rules (IFR) for commercial passenger services. P&WC played a leadership role in supporting the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) development of the new policies. The expanded use of single-engine turbine aircraft flying commercial passenger missions throughout Europe is expected to become reality in 2017. This is good news for the PT6 engine that powers many of these aircraft types. 
Further bolstering its turboprop orders, P&WC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Antonov to provide the Antonov AN-132 aircraft production program with a new version of the PW150A turboprop engine. The AN-132 is part of a new generation of light, multi-purpose aircraft intended for short- and medium-haul routes.
P&WC customer Viking Air Limited of Sidney, B.C., revealed it had now flown its 100th production Series 400 Twin Otter from its facilities, as part of the completion process before delivery to Viking’s sister company, Pacific Sky Aviation Inc. 
Viking Air Limited of Sidney, B.C., announced it’s preparing to deliver the 100th Series 400 Twin Otter it has produced. Rich Cooper Photo
In addition, Viking sealed a deal with Nepal’s Tara Air for three Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft in regional commuter configuration, after making modifications to improve operational safety in the mountainous regions of the country. To support future business Viking also stated it had formed a relationship with Longview Aviation Asset Management, a newly-formed entity set up to offer attractive leasing and financing options for utility turboprop aircraft. Longview has entered into an agreement with Viking to acquire six new DHC-6 Series 400 aircraft and has secured one used DHC-6 Series 400 aircraft, which was on display during the show. 
Utility aircraft were in the Canadian spotlight as three of the contenders for Canada’s new fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft displayed at the show. The Leonardo Aircraft C-27J Spartan and the Airbus Defence & Space C295 are in the mix, as is Embraer’s developmental KC-390.
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For Canadian aerospace small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Farnborough presented the perfect platform for aerospace cluster members to mix with the international aviation community. The Aero Montreal booth welcomed its largest number of SMBs, as 33 companies participated. Demonstrating its cross-continent approach, the organization signed an agreement with Hamburg Aviation to encourage collaboration between companies, educational establishments and research centres from both clusters. 
The Aero Montreal booth welcomed its largest number of small- and medium-sized businesses, as 33 companies participated. Rich Cooper Photo
The Ontario Aerospace Council hosted just under 20 SMBs as it showcased its strength in the industry, citing that 15 of the world’s top 25 aerospace companies have key operations in the province. 
Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, took part in the launch of Canada’s first independent research, development, flight test and certification centre. The CertCenterCanada experts will help domestic and international customers to reduce the costs, risks and timing associated with flight testing and certification. 
The National Research Council of Canada celebrated its centenary, marking its attendance at the show by announcing the creation of a Cabin Comfort and Environment Research centre. The new facility, located adjacent to Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, will aim to recreate the air travel experience to help industry develop and evaluate new cabin interior concepts.
As this year’s Farnborough closed, plans for the 2018 show (July 16 to 22) are already underway, with numerous exhibitors reconfirming participation in one of the most important events for the global aerospace industry. 

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