Boeing’s 787, or Dreamliner, touched down at the Farnborough air show in southern England. The plane is the future of air travel - that's why Airbus is building its own carbon-composite version.

 

Farnborough is the biggest shop window for the aircraft makers and defence companies.

Dubai's Emirates agreed to buy 30 of Boeing’s 777-300 wide-body planes worth almost $9 billion.

But the biggest deals will come from the not-so glamorous leasing companies owned by a few names you may be familiar with General Electric, Royal Bank of Scotland and AIG.  

 

And a new entrant - Air Lease Corp, which has been set-up by the founder and former head of AIG’s ILFC unit, Steve Udvar-Hazy. It bought 51 Airbus aicraft worth $4.4bn with more orders to come.

 

GE's GECAS ordered 151 Boeing and Airbus aircrafts worth about $8bn. 

 

What does this tell us about the airline industry that between 2000 and 2009 lost a staggering $49.1bn?

 

The leasing companies are like a barometer. If they are buying then by the time the planes are delivered in two to three years that must be a sign that skies are more blue then red!

 

But the recovery is patchy. The Middle East, India and China are still leading the recovery. Europe and the United States are suffering with the legacy of huge pension pots to fill and labour costs. And unemployment is still stubornly high.

 

The new breed of Middle East airlines, ideally located between East and West, are certainly the biggest winners. They can take passengers from China and Indian-sub continent and deposit them in Africa, Europe and United States.

With these long-range jets - Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 - Emirates and Qatar can reach 95 per cent of the world’s population. And that's why they'll be the biggest buyers of jets.   

The only threat to their model is if passengers start a revolt to being packed in like cattle at the back of their planes.

And that will happen when incomes and the standard of living rises but that's unlikely to happen within the next two generations.