Britain's Farnborough airshow, a showpiece event for the global aerospace sector battered by the coronavirus pandemic, has been cancelled for this year, organisers said Friday.

"It is with great regret that we announce the Farnborough International Airshow 2020, due to take place in July, is cancelled," read a statement from the organisers of the biennial event.

"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."

Farnborough, southwest of London, is one of the world's largest civilian and defence airshows, along with Paris and Dubai.

No Farnborough this year
No Farnborough this year AFP / Adrian DENNIS

Visitors from around 100 countries had been expected for the event which traditionally features big deals for airlines, as well as air displays by civil and defence jets.

"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," the statement said.

"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."

At the event, US aerospace titan Boeing and European arch rival Airbus vie for superiority in a head-to-head dogfight for lucrative multi-billion-dollar jet orders.

However this year the deadly COVID-19 outbreak has ravaged both the global economy and the aviation sector, with airlines worldwide axing most flights in response to collapsing demand for air travel.