Lockheed Martin is close to a $37 billion deal to sell a record 440 F-35 fighter jets to 11 nations, people familiar with the talks said. As Ivor Bennett reports, the fighter made its Paris Airshow debut on Monday, along with a new upgraded version of Airbus's 'superjumbo' A380.
It probably wasn't by design, but the aerobatics at this year's Paris Airshow were an appropriate reflection of the market. After years of booming orders, the upward trajectory is petering out. Jetmakers now braced if not for a nosedive, then at least for a slowdown. Airbus is hoping these new wingtips will help ignite demand for its A380, the world's biggest passenger jet, by reducing fuel burn by up to 4 percent. This one is called the A380plus. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS EUROPEAN AIRLINES CORRESPONDENT, VICTORIA BRYAN, SAYING: "It can also squeeze more seats on the plane. Hopes that these upgrades will reduce the operating cost per seat of the plane and maybe entice some people to buy the jet for which there's been very few orders over the last few years." It probably wasn't by design, but the aerobatics at this year's Paris Airshow were an appropriate reflection of the market. After years of booming orders, the upward trajectory is petering out. Jetmakers now braced if not for a nosedive, then at least for a slowdown. Airlines too are struggling to reduce costs. None more so that Qatar Airways, following the transport boycott by its neighbours. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF QATAR AIRWAYS, AKBAR AL BAKER, SAYING: "Yes there has been monetary impacts, we have had a lot of cancellations, especially to the four countries that did this illegal blockade. However we have found new markets and this is our growth strategy." The show was opened by French President Emmanuel Macron, fresh from his party's victory in the parliamentary elections. An uptick of interest in military aircraft also helped lift the mood. Lockheed Martin is understood to be in the final stages of a deal for its F-35 fighter jet, worth upwards of 37 billion dollars selling 440 of them to a group of 11 nations. It's also signed a deal that'll see F-16s produced in India. Perhaps fearing reaction from Donald Trump, the company said this would not impact jobs in the U.S.