WASHINGTON — Farnborough International Airshow, this year’s largest showcase of commercial and military aerospace technology, has been canceled due to ongoing health concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The cancellation of the event, which was slated to take place July 20-24 at Farnborough Airport in England, has broad economic implications for the aerospace industry. Farnborough Airshow is often a venue for major deals, with airlines announcing large buys of commercial aircraft during the show. While big defense contracts are sometimes also announced, the show provides a venue for industry to interface with U.S. and international military officials, paving the way for sales.

“After very careful consideration, the unprecedented impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has forced this decision in the interests of the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, contractors and staff,” the Farnborough International Board of Directors said in a statement on March 20. “This decision was reached taking into consideration several major factors surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, all of which we have concluded, make it is impossible for us to create and host the Airshow this July.”

“We understand this news will be an incredible disappointment to all across the international aerospace industry, not to mention our important exhibitors, suppliers and visitors. We at Farnborough International share your disappointment that we are unable to present the Airshow as planned, but rest assured, we are determined to continue to work together and will ensure the Farnborough International Airshow returns in 2022 better than ever,” the statement said.

Farnborough International Airshow is held every other year, alternating with Paris Airshow held in Le Bourget, France.

Show organizers announced the decision minutes after the formal cancellation of the Royal International Air Tattoo, a major military airshow in England that traditionally occurs in the days before Farnborough International Airshow.

This is a developing story. Check back with Defense News for more details.

Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.

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