The Reed Smith Aviation team were out in force for FIA 2018. It’s always nice to be able to catch up with clients and old industry friends from across the globe on our own doorstep – and even better when it’s in the middle of a heatwave!

New orders

Boeing’s executives are likely to be flying back to Seattle feeling very pleased with the week’s work, having secured/announced $79 billion in orders during the show. Vietjet signed an MoU for an additional 100 Boeing 737 Max aircraft and Hawaiian Airlines also confirmed its order for 10 787-9s, while also confirming purchase rights for an additional 10 aircraft. Overall Airbus announced 93 firm orders and commitments for 338 aircraft, including a commitment from JetBlue for 120 of its new A220 aircraft and a confirmation from AirAsia X for 34 A330neos. Embraer had a much more successful show than last year, securing/announcing 265 orders for variants of its EJets.

There was plenty of lessor activity to note across the week with Goshawk Aviation (20 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft) making its first direct order from Boeing and Jackson Square Aviation (30 Max-family aircraft) making its first direct purchase from any OEM. Macquarie AirFinance ordered 20 A320neos and ACG ordered a further 20 Boeing 737 Max, taking its current order to 100.

Aviation geeks

From an aviation geek perspective it was great to have the opportunity to see some of the new products on display, with the A220 making its debut a week after being launched in Toulouse, the Embraer E190-E2 making an appearance in the funky shark livery and the MRJ90 taking part in its debut flying display (having recovered from Tuesday’s encounter with the Farnborough ground crew).

The aerial display was as impressive as ever and Wednesday’s show included the A350, A400, 737 Max and an F16. Our standout performer however was the Lockheed C-130J, the new SuperHerc offering from Lockheed Martin which defied all logic by flying upside down! Yes, a SuperHerc did a full loop (Google it). It was double takes all round in our group at that point, and such an unbelievable piece of flying from test pilot Wayne Roberts who is retiring after FIA 2018 – he certainly knows how to go out in style.

A look to the future

Having spent the day wandering through the halls and exhibitions our last stop was The Boeing Centre where we were presented with VR headsets that allowed you to explore various Boeing products of the present and future. An interesting way to see how the Boeing fleet is being developed with the obvious trend being for cabins with lots of natural light and overhead bins with lots of storage (one reason the 737 Max seems to be so popular). It also allowed you to see what Boeing had planned in the Space and Defence sectors, with there being a big focus on UAVs.

Something else that caught our eye was this from Aston Martin: https://youtu.be/hmFYOQnsd4s

Called the Volante Vision Concept, Aston Martin bill it as a “luxury concept aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities”. Flying cars have been a feature of the show for many years but there’s something a bit different and a bit special about the idea of a flying Aston Martin!

See you in Paris

A great day was had by all (if we ignore the train delays) and we look forward to seeing everyone in Paris in 12 months’ time.