At Air Show, the Worry: Too Many Planes?

As airlines cut back on services and lay off thousands, planemakers such as Airbus and Boeing are sitting on a record backlog of orders

International air shows, with their flashy aerial displays and throngs of onlookers, are a time-honored venue for airlines and aircraft makers to announce lucrative new orders. But the big question at this year's Farnborough Airshow, which opens July 14 near London, isn't how many new planes will be sold—it's whether airlines are really going to buy the ones they've already ordered.

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