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Bumping into British PM David Cameron at the Farnborough Air Show

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British Prime Minister David Cameron has had a very interesting few months, but there’s one part of the job that’s hard not to envy: VIP access at Farnborough. This week, I’m on the ground at the ever-important Farnborough International Airshow, held every other year just outside London.

The show kicked off this morning, and my first stop was Boeing’s booth, since I hoped to score early access to the brand new Boeing 737 MAX, which is set to launch next year. Thankfully, that effort paid off — I managed to get on board — but due to a security mixup I also ended up with a pretty cool opportunity to (almost) rub shoulders with Britain’s (now outgoing) PM, who seemed to be in an excellent mood throughout his Boeing booth visit.

Fighter jets pass overhead during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Farnborough Air Show as Boeing guests seek shelter under a US Navy jet.
Fighter jets pass overhead during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Farnborough Air Show as Boeing guests seek shelter under a US Navy P-8A.

Military aircraft appeared to be the focus of Cameron’s visit, which followed an announcement that Boeing would be bringing 2,000 jobs to the UK, and that the country will be purchasing nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft to beef up its search and rescue operation.

David Cameron chats with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg at the Farnborough Air Show.
David Cameron walks past a Boeing 737 MAX as he chats with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg at the Farnborough Air Show.

Only a few dozen Boeing employees and guests attended the visit, which centered around the UK’s P-8A Poseidon acquisition.

Cameron's delegation approaches journalists and guests at the Boeing booth.
Cameron’s delegation approaches journalists and guests at the Boeing booth.

Cameron spent five minutes or so chatting with a handful of Royal Air Force members, including some who will likely be operating the UK’s new search and rescue aircraft once they’re delivered in a few years.

David Cameron chats with members of a UK crew for the P-8A Poseidon patrol jet.
David Cameron chats with members of a UK crew for the P-8A Poseidon patrol jet.

Cameron seemed to be in very good spirits on the same day he announced his replacement, Theresa May.

David Cameron jokes with a UK crew member.
David Cameron jokes with a UK crew member.

And then after 10 or so minutes of shaking hands and touring the booth, Cameron and his entourage made their way to a waiting motorcade, and the Boeing team got back to work at Farnborough.

The British PM's entourage passes by the 737 MAX following a visit to the Boeing booth.
The British PM’s entourage passes by the 737 MAX following a visit to the Boeing booth.

FIA is very similar to the Paris Air Show, which is held during odd-numbered years, vs. even-numbered years for Farnborough. Billions of dollars in aircraft deals are firmed up each time around, and more than 100,000 trade visitors attend — in other words, it’s a pretty big deal.

We’ll be bringing you plenty more from FIA 2016 throughout this week, so stay tuned!

See below for more from Farnborough 2016:

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