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Aviation industry boom as Farnborough deals reach $47 billion

By Teo Kermeliotis for CNN
Air Lease Corporation's Steven Udvar-Hazy (second from right) with Embraer executives following a deal for up to 20 E-Jets.
Air Lease Corporation's Steven Udvar-Hazy (second from right) with Embraer executives following a deal for up to 20 E-Jets.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Farnborough Airshow 2010 saw $47 billion worth of orders, organisers say
  • The figure is seen as an encouraging sign of recovery for the industry after a ddifficultperiod
  • More than 120,000 people visited world's largest air show on trade days

London, England (CNN) -- A total of $47 billion worth of deals were struck this year at Farnborough Airshow, the event's organizers announced Friday.

The figure, although well below 2008's record-breaking $88.7 billion worth of orders, is seen as a sign of optimism for the recession-hit aviation industry.

"To see over $47 billion dollars worth of business done and the quality of the business transactions at the show is a testament to the endurance of our sectors, their positive contribution to UK and world trade as well as the significance of the show itself," said Ian Godden, chairman of A|D|S, the UK's AeroSpace, Defense and Security trade organization in a media release.

The encouraging news comes after a turbulent financial year for the industry -- last year, orders at France-based Le Bourget gathering, (Farnborough's sister air show) plunged to a meager $7 billion.

This year's Farnborough show, held in Hampshire, south England, also marks an improvement compared to 2006, where $42 billion worth of orders were recorded.

The biennial affair saw the return of air leasing companies in the spotlight, with aviation mogul Steven Udvar-Hazy making a dynamic comeback with his new venture, Air Lease Corporation, striking a series of multibillion deals with Boeing, Airbus and Embraer.

Video: New leasing company buying big
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GEKAS, the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of General Electric, also embarked on a spending spree, announcing deals with Airbus for 60 A320 family aircraft and Boeing for 40 Next-Generation 737-800s.

Other notable contracts include Richard Branson's Virgin America order of 40 Airbus A320 -- in a deal worth around $3 billion -- and Dubai-based Emirates Airline order of 30 Boeing long-range 777-300ERs, worth $9.1 billion.

As of Thursday, industry leaders Boeing and Airbus Video had won 237 jetline orders estimated to be worth around $28 billion.

According to A|D|S, 1450 exhibiting companies took part this year in the world's largest air show, with more than 120,000 visitors on trade days.

Highlights of this year's show included the maiden transatlantic flight of Boeing's eagerly-anticipated 787 Dreamliner Video as well as the in-flight demonstration of Airbus's new military transport plane, the A400M.

The organizers expect a further 160,000 people to visit Farnborough on the forthcoming public weekend.