Connecticut Companies at World's Biggest Air Show

Jul 14, 2014

Connecticut aerospace companies are front and center at the world’s largest air show on Monday. The Farnborough Air Show in England alternates with Paris each year to host the biggest names in the world of aerospace.

Over the course of this week, more than 200,000 people are expected to attend the show, about half of them industry professionals. About 1,500 companies will exhibit their wares, and they’re expecting business. At the last show in 2012, $72 billion worth of orders were announced. 

Flanagan Industries' Glastonbury facility
Credit Flanagan Industries

Flanagan Industries in Glastonbury, a 68-year-old family owned business, will be there. It makes cases for aerospace turbines. Kevin Flanagan said that having a presence is invaluable. "As Pratt and GE, for instance, develop new engines, they take on partners all around the world — risk and revenue sharing partners — because of the billion-dollar-plus cost to develop new engines," he told WNPR. "So it’s up to companies such as ours to, you know, you can complain about work going overseas or you can get off your butt and go across the pond and chase it back.”

Flanagan Industries is small: just 100 employees, but this is its ninth time at the European air shows. It’s one of ten smaller companies that are able to attend the show this year as part of the Connecticut pavilion, organized by the Department of Economic and Community Development and by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.

The F35 on a test flight
Credit US Air Force

"From a machining side, a company that produces parts for the engine makers," said Flanagan, "it’s a way for us to have a presence at these shows and meet our European customers — within a one-week time to meet all of our current and potential customers without having to travel all over the world to meet with them."

For one big Connecticut company, some questions remain. Pratt and Whitney is still hoping that the F35 Joint Strike Fighter can be one of the principal attractions at the show. It's waiting to hear if the Department of Defense will lift a grounding order on the aircraft imposed in the wake of an engine fire last month.