European Regional Airline Flybe Announces Orders for 140 Embraer Planes

The aviation industry's largest airshow was shifting its focus to military firepower on Tuesday against a backdrop of tighter budgets, while commercial air carriers were still buying planes in bulk.

Flybe signed for up to $5 billion in planes from Brazilian group Embraer, and more orders were expected for Boeing and Airbus, including talk of more buying by revitalized aircraft leasing pioneer Steve Udvar-Hazy.

Commercial and military are in sharp contrast -- the private sector is spending more freely than it has in the past two years, while Britain's defense secretary, Liam Fox, was expected to outline plans to cut procurement spending and demand better value for taxpayers' money at the Farnborough Airshow, Reuters says.

More than 1,000 exhibitors from 38 countries have signed up for Farnborough, with delegations from Egypt, Taiwan and Morocco attending for the first time. Organizers also cited stronger interest from major players China and Russia.

Adding to deals worth more than $18 billion signed on Monday, European regional airline Flybe announced an order for up to 140 Embraer planes, worth as much as $5 billion at list prices, to be delivered between 2011 and 2017 to support its expansion plans.

The deals at Farnborough, considered a barometer of the aviation and defence industry along with its sister show at Le Bourget in Paris in alternate years, are giving rise to hopes that the worst may be over for the airline industry after a deep two-year downturn, according to The Associated Press.

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