An uptick in the global economy gives aerospace manufacturers at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow reason to hope for a record year, optimism an irked Russia can’t share: it won’t be allowed to exhibit a major money spinner – military hardware.
The flying displays of the latest civilian and military aircraft each afternoon at Britain’s biggest military and civilian aviation event are a major draw for industry and public visitors. The Royal Air Force can be counted on for flying displays and exhibits that highlight its centenary in 2018. The International Monetary Fund sees global growth on the rise, from 3.6 percent in 2017 to 3.7 percent in 2018 after several dismal years. Typically, good financial news translates into healthy sales at the major air shows. Russian Farnborough visitors and exhibitors have faced visa embargoes and heavy restrictions on participation since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. In Nov 2017 Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin criticized Farnborough organizers for their refusal to accept Russian military hardware at the 2018 show. “It is silly to deprive your visitors of a chance to see the world’s best combat aviation that had played a decisive role in the outcome of the Syrian war,” Rogozin wrote on his Facebook page, according to a TASS report. Russia has a vested interest in overcoming its irritation and resisting any temptation to boycott Farnborough. The show typically welcomes some 56 civil delegations from 23 countries and 81 military delegations from 50 countries. Fortune magazine notes that it is trying to rejuvenate domestic industrial production to make the country less dependent on foreign firms. It needs buyers for its new Irkut MC-21, which it sees as competition to Boeing and Airbus jets in the same class, and as a rival for the new Chinese C919 passenger jet. Western analysts cited by Reuters in 2017 say that both Russia and China face a huge challenge to shatter the transatlantic airplane duopoly. Chinese company Comac had a significant presence at the 2016 Farnborough show, an indication of its determination to challenge the transatlantic pair.
Date written/update: 2018-01-25