Thoughts and impressions from Farnborough International Airshow & Exhibition 2022

Review of the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow

After the impact of CoVID-19 and the resulting slump in the aviation sector, the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow would be a great indicator of how the market was recovering, and the news all-around was promising.

This was my first visit to the Farnborough Airshow, and as a first-time visitor, I was more than impressed. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this exhibition, with its highly international footfall, and the calibre of the companies exhibiting, is one of the most impressive events I’ve been to in my career to date.

The scale and the range of companies exhibiting their products and services was difficult to get my head around, as was the amount of state of the art technology on show. Having not been to one of these events before, I can’t comment on the footfall compared to previous events, but given that it was 40ºC on Monday and Tuesday, it had not kept attendees away and the aisles were awash with people.

It had been 4 years since the last Farnborough Airshow, so I guess that aviation fans were keen to get back out and see what had been developed while they’d been away.

Speaking to a number of exhibitors, it was obvious that companies who were 100% reliant on the aerospace sector had had an awful 2 years of business, but many businesses had some protection having a more diversified set of markets that they served. A couple of business owners mentioned that they’d had to make some very difficult decisions to keep their companies afloat with many contracts either being shelved or pushed back. Even with this being the case, the atmosphere and outlook were positive, and with CoVID-19 being seen as a once in a lifetime event, it was expected that the market will recover in the coming years. Although the long term impact of CoVID-19 and the potential changes to the ways of working globally is, as yet, still unknown. 

The impact of CoVID-19 cannot be underestimated and figures suggest that “in 2020, aviation industry revenues totalled $328 billion, around 40 per cent of the previous year’s. In nominal terms, that’s the same as in 2000.” (McKinsey) 

Given that the bounce back of business travel may not reach pre-CoVID-19 levels for a few years, we may not see the full implications of CoVID-19 to the aviation industry for a few years more. So it was interesting to see the show full of exhibitors sprawled across the exhibition halls, and that the outlook for the most part was positive.

There was a huge amount of equipment on show. The highlights for me were seeing both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X fly. What stood out was how quiet both of these aircraft were, and seeing aircraft with a completely unobscured view from the side of the runway was a new experience for me.

Video courtesy of Adam Landau via This is Flight

Checking out the news about the event, it seems that a number of extremely large and lucrative orders for new passenger planes were confirmed at the event, with companies like Boeing and Airbus taking orders in the billions of dollars. So it would seem that international travel after CoVID-19 is expected to return to its pre-pandemic trajectory.

I spoke with the MD of FANUC UK, Tom Bouchier, and raised the question of how robotics could affect employment in the manufacturing sectors. Tom said that “…rather than reducing the opportunities for employment, robots would actually increase the requirements for skilled workers and engineers, creating higher paid jobs and more qualified engineers.” I think that this would benefit UK manufacturers and see a rise in engineering students going through higher education to fill the skills gap that would be created.

“I’ve heard it for thirty years, robots replacing jobs, but they don’t, they replace tasks. Most places grow when they go into automation,” Tom added.

The large drones at Inteliports also caught my attention when I entered the exhibition, and speaking to Peter Birley, he spoke at length about how the commercialisation of drones to provide automated logistics is going to happen sooner rather than later, and that Inteliports were at the front of the line to create the infrastructure for these drones to operate on a global scale.

The aviation sector is one that I never had any dealings with in my metal career, and I don’t pretend to be anything but a novice in this area, but the industry is clearly an early adopter of new technology and it’ll be interesting to see how quickly things like autonomous flight and large cargo drones get rolled out globally.

A day wasn’t really enough for our visit, but I’d say it’s an exciting time to be in the sector, and there was plenty of food for thought for us all.

The Farnborough International Airshow will return on 22-26 July 2024. Visit the website for information about exhibiting at or visiting the event: www.farnboroughairshow.com

About the author

Latest articles

Featured article
  • Women with Metal

    Women with Metal

    It’s been 7 weeks since the first Women with Metal event and the 2nd edition of this sell out conference has already been booked top take place on 29 October 2024. Kirsty is increasing the size and scale of the event and has booked a hall at the ICC Birmingham for year 2 with the…

    Read article →

  • Organized Crime Drives Metal Theft Epidemic: UK Economy Loses Half a Billion Annually.

    Organized Crime Drives Metal Theft Epidemic: UK Economy Loses Half a Billion Annually.

    A newly released report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Metal, Stone, and Heritage reveals that metal theft orchestrated by organized crime groups is costing the UK economy a staggering half a billion pounds each year. The comprehensive study, titled “Tackling Metal Theft,” exposes a rising trend in metal-related crimes since 2019, amounting to a…

    Read article →

  • Van Leeuwen: The Energy Project

    Van Leeuwen: The Energy Project

    In December 2021 Jill Clements told me about the Energy Project that had been signed off by Van Leeuwen UK. Jill was animated when talking about the news, and excitedly explained the potential that this opened up to her and the team. “I am very excited about it. I am really happy that finally we…

    Read article →

  • Drywall Steel Sections Secures £9.5 Million WMCA Investment

    Drywall Steel Sections Secures £9.5 Million WMCA Investment

    £13 million was all it took for a family run manufacturing business to make a monumental transformation in the historic heart of the steel industry! Drywall Steel Sections Ltd are on the move after securing loan funding of £9.5 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Their Cradley Heath site was no longer fit…

    Read article →

  • The NASS Golf day & Summer Gathering 2023

    The NASS Golf day & Summer Gathering 2023

    On the 29th of June, Matt Tipper, Stewart Andrews and I had a swing of the clubs at Priory Breadsall in Derby. A week later, on the 6th of July, I attended the Summer Gathering in central Birmingham. Two entirely different events, seven days apart, both hosted by The National Association of Steel Service Centres…

    Read article →

  • The Stainless Steel Industry Meets at the BSSA Annual Conference & Dinner

    The Stainless Steel Industry Meets at the BSSA Annual Conference & Dinner

    The British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA) met at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham in May 2023 for their annual conference and dinner. Having attended the last four BSSA annual conferences and this year’s Food and Beverage Industry event (link to article), it was great to catch up with familiar faces from the industry and new…

    Read article →

  • Q2 Review: Analysing The Recruitment Landscape

    Q2 Review: Analysing The Recruitment Landscape

    Large corporate companies are facing challenges attracting new talent and retaining skilled staff especially when their salary structures, work flexibility and staff benefits are outdated compared to smaller, more agile SMEs. Smaller companies can have the advantage of being able to offer more flexibility and quicker decision-making, meaning they’re a more appealing option for certain…

    Read article →

  • How to use LinkedIn for YOUR Metal Business.

    How to use LinkedIn for YOUR Metal Business.

    The below presentation was given at the National Association of Steel Service Centres (NASS) 2023 Summer Gathering. In 12 days I’ll have been using LinkedIn for 12 years! On the day I joined I thought: “Wow! This business Facebook thingy is incredible! Everyone I want to do business with is right here, this will be…

    Read article →

  • Leading the Charge: Steel Dynamics in the Nuclear Industry

    Leading the Charge: Steel Dynamics in the Nuclear Industry

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently unveiled the Great British Nuclear initiative, marking a significant milestone in the UK’s pursuit of a sustainable energy future. With nuclear power playing a crucialrole in achieving net-zero emissions and reducing greenhouse gases, this announcement signals a remarkable leap forward in the nation’s commitment to clean and reliable energy sources.…

    Read article →

  • Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. Acquires Ferrari Stainless & Alloys.

    Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. Acquires Ferrari Stainless & Alloys.

    Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. Acquires Ferrari Stainless & Alloys Ltd. Launching P&P Non Ferrous: A Gateway to Enhanced Customer Services and Expansion Down South In a strategic move to bolster its position in the industry, Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. proudly announces the successful acquisition of Ferrari Stainless & Alloys Ltd. in Wimborne. This transformative development…

    Read article →

  • Sustainability is key to modern manufacturing

    Sustainability is key to modern manufacturing

    During my time supplying specialist metals into the manufacturing sector, I have noticed several things regarding the supply chain local to me in South Yorkshire. 1 Large Manufacturing companies often have difficult onboarding processes.  This makes it difficult for smaller SMES or new market entrants to be able to supply them. 2 Manufacturing companies are…

    Read article →

  • Lasers: The Tesla of Tooling

    Lasers: The Tesla of Tooling

    Welcome back, I’m LaserEd, and I work with lasers. I’ll be laser-educating for The Metal Magazine and I hope it results in more metal parts being lasered! First of all, I haven’t had an accident after writing my last article about Laser Safety. I have been busy researching. Although it is time consuming, I love…

    Read article →

  • Implementing QMS Certifications for Small Businesses and Start-Up Companies

    Implementing QMS Certifications for Small Businesses and Start-Up Companies

    Welcome to the fourth and final instalment of this short series on Quality Management System certification for small businesses and start-up companies. In this 4 part series I have been explaining exactly what third-party certification involves, and how you can level up your business through this process. The standard we are focussing on is ISO9001:2015, as…

    Read article →

Get notified when we publish new articles!

Want to feature in the next edition?