Flypasts and spaceships: Farnborough 2012 takes off

Story highlights

  • Farnborough airshow is one of the biggest aviation industry gatherings
  • Multi-million dollar deals are made for aviation's top names like Airbus, Boeing and Embrarer
  • CNN brings you pictures of all the goings on at this spectacular flying festival

Every second year, the small town of Farnborough in South East England plays host to the biggest names of the aviation world. Exhibitors and vistors mingle with the latest technology to hit the skies.

While the economy remains bleak, a smaller number of orders from plane constructors like Airbus and Boeing than previous years is expected. But huge advances have been made in aerospace technology with Virgin Galactic (showing the SpaceShipTwo for the first time in Europe) and SpaceX looking to steal the show from other exhibitors.

Not to be outdone, plane manufacturer Boeing returned to Farnborough with its first aerial display in 28 years staging a rare UK flypast of its new 787 Dreamliner.

The Qatar Airlines-liveried Dreamliner roared into the skies over the Farnborough Airshow for an aerial demonstration lasting a brief seven minutes, before touching back down on the tarmac.

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    Get a peek inside the new 787 Dreamliner

Get a peek inside the new 787 Dreamliner 04:06

The Qatar Airways version of the 787 will soon be entering service on Middle Eastern routes before operating on a Doha-London service -- although the schedule has yet to be confirmed.

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    787 Dreamliner airplane takes off

787 Dreamliner airplane takes off 03:33

Read more: A step forward on Dreamliner flight

The Qatar aircraft features a total of 254 seats. Passengers using the 22 business class seats will be able to recline into a fully-flat, 32-inch wide bed.

    "The first of our 60 Boeing 787s on order will set new standards in service and excellence as we continue to grow aggressively, bringing a heightened level of luxury and state-of-the-art engineering to the skies with these new-generation aircraft," Qatar Airlines CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.