TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: And about 30 miles southwest of London, it’s the aviation industry’s biggest gathering: the Farnborough Air Show. That’s where Emirates Airlines today announced it’s going to buy 30 new aircraft from Boeing. A deal that could be worth $9 billion. Boeing’s already making news over there after landing its new Dreamliner for the first time outside the United States. The BBC’s Theo Leggett is with us from Farnborough with the latest. Hi Theo.
Theo Leggett: Hi there.
Chiotakis: So Boeing landed this new 787 Dreamliner at the show. Anything significant about its plan for the industry?
Leggett: Yeah well, Boeing landed this aircraft a day early, a day ahead of the start of the show, trying to steal the headlines I think. And this is a very significant aircraft for Boeing — it’s built almost entirely of what’s basically plastic, it’s carbon composites. And what that means is that the aircraft is much lighter than other aircraft, which means it uses less fuel. Now I spoke to James Albaugh, who’s chief executive at Boeing commercial airplanes, and he told me this airplane will change the industry:
James Albaugh: Well I’ll tell you, I think this is going to be the most efficient airplane ever built. This is going to be an airplane that can fly further, this is an airplane that’s going to provide, you know, much more comfort for the passengers. This is an airplane that I think will change the world.
Chiotakis: Theo, what is Farnborough, and why is Farnborough so important?
Leggett: Well Farnborough is a very unusual event. This is a tremendous arms and aircraft fair where thousands of exhibitors come along to show their latest product and try to gain customers.
Chiotakis: How’s the industry feeling after the downturn in the past couple of years? I mean these are pretty expensive planes. Do sales on there indicate anything about a recovery?
Leggett: Well it’s a tale of two industries, really. On the commercial side, the passenger planes, people are looking a lot more confident than they did a year ago at the Paris Air Show. This year, we’re being told to expect quite a few orders. But on the other side, on the defense side, people are being a lot more cautious. They know that governments have less money than they used to have. They know that the good years of ever-increasing defense spending are probably over and they’re going to have to tighten their belts. It’s going to be harder to sell military hardware.
Chiotakis: The BBC’s Theo Leggett joining us from Farnborough. Theo, thank you.
Leggett: Thank you very much.
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