The commercial aircraft chief of U.S. planemaker Boeing expects growth to return to the industry in the middle of next year, he told a news conference at the Paris Air Show on Monday. The recovery would be in both air freight and air traffic, though the big question remained the shape and scope of the upturn, Scott Carson said.

It feels to me as if we may have reached a bottom both in terms of air freight but perhaps even more importantly in terms of global air traffic, Carson said.

The long-term prospects for this industry remain robust and as global GDP recovers we expect to see a recovery both in air freight and passenger traffic.

The head of Italian defense company Finmeccanica meanwhile told a news conference at the air show he was seeing the first positive signals in the overall economic climate.

This gave hope the situation could be reviewed again in the second half of the year or next year, Chief Executive Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini said.

Boeing's Carson added that he expected a more normal trend in credit in the second half of 2010.

The air transport industry has been battered by a slump in the economy coupled with weakened credit. Together these have cast doubt on the ability of airlines to pay for the roughly $800 billion of planes on order following a previous order boom.