The 52nd International Paris Air Show is complete, where aviation professionals introduced their newest aircraft and audiences were swept aside with awe.
Professionals in the aviation industry lined up to sign contracts over 19-23 June at the Exhibition Centre at Le Bourget in Paris. It provided an exciting, buzzing environment as the latest planes and air technologies made their first appearances.
The Paris Air Show is held every odd year. It provides a forum for industry to network, land deals and negotiate contracts. It also creates a wonderful atmosphere for members of the public to admire the impressive aircraft on display. And, of course, it is a battle ground for the two largest aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing.
The star of the Show was, arguably, mammoth manufacturer Boeing. They showed the world their new 737 aircraft during the opening ceremony. Professionals watched as the aircraft soared across the sky, and it has since enjoyed a surge in orders. The 737 Max 10 is at the top end of the market for single-aisle jets, which we discussed in the context of the 737 Max 8 in our previous blog. The new Max 10 can carry up to 230 people. The American-based company enjoyed 571 orders, totaling over $70 billion. Boeing actually took more orders than Airbus for the first time since 2012, announcing its highest level of net orders for at least 10 years. Nevertheless, there is still some question as to whether all the Paris commitments will translate into concrete orders.
Airbus conceded defeat. Head of Sales said, “Every dog gets his day and it looks like they won”. But he still has some hope; “We looked very closely at the Max 10 and we don’t see it as major competitor,” he said. The Max 10 did not indicate a move away from the A320 group of planes, he reasoned.
However, Airbus had its moment to shine. French President Emmanuel Macron arrived to the airfield in an Airbus A400-M military transport aircraft to launch the show. The UK-based manufacturer announced the A380plus, a plane with a new wing design aimed at reducing fuel burn. The plane has new stairway and a brand new cabin rest area, with the ability to carry 80 more passengers. Airbus also announced a deal to supply twelve A3121neos to the Air Lease Corporation. Airbus still managed to attain a total of 336 orders. Boeing also admitted that it had no new orders for is the new 777x, a model which has suffered somewhat of an “order draught” in the past.
Many other business deals also sealed. Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems announced a partnership that would see F-16 aircraft built and operated in India. The agreement comes at an excellent time for the Indian Government’s “Made in India” campaign. Lockheed Martin is also in the process of negotiating a $37 billion-plus deal to supply four hundred and forty F-35 fighter jets to eleven countries. CAE Inc also signed multiple aviation training contracts and sales for flight simulators worth about $85 million with some major airlines.
Some fascinating new technology was at the Air Show. AeroMobil, a Slovakian company, showed off its new $1.2 million flying car. The company had previously announced this invention in April. They say they will produce a limited edition of 500 cars, and will sell for €100,000 – €150,000. It has work to do convincing the industry of the vehicle’s effectiveness. An earlier design crashed in May 2015. The Italian-based Leonardo has also launched its new M-40 drone, a remotely piloted system that creates infrared, visual and radar threats for training defence systems on the ground, air and sea. The drone can also undertake low-altitude sea-skimming missions and 3D manoeuvres. The combination of both civil and military aerospace technology made for a thriving marketplace in Paris this year.