Le Bourget, Paris, France.
Having gained his pilots license over 10 years ago and flying recreationally since, Darren is always interested in aircraft and air shows. When the opportunity to attend the bi-annual Paris Air Show on the weekend of June 20th/21st came up we jumped at the chance. Private aircraft so often go hand in hand with luxury yachts so with tickets and a site map in hand off we went to inspect the gathering.
The show covered a huge area holding over 2000 exhibitors and hosting over 300,000 visitors, both professional and public. The displays were very impressive, from the massive Rolls Royce Trent 900 turbine that’s used to power the huge Airbus A380, scale models of helicopters and aircraft, to flight simulators and aerospace training providers, the whole industry was well represented. A lot of the displays were very technical with a large visual impact; you could see a lot of time went into building up the booths.
Outside of the tents the live displays were equally well done, with many aircraft companies giving opportunities to walk through their models on display.
It just wouldn’t be an air show without some flying displays to take in as well, and the aerobatics performed by the highly skilled pilots entertained the crowd. Equally impressive were the Airbus A380, A350, and Boeing Dreamliner flights. The way those pilots flew them within such a tight airspace envelope made them look more like agile turboprops that the huge lumbering machines that they are.
So how did this translate into sales? Unlike the yacht shows that we attend each year, a large proportion of aerospace business is done at these shows and the Paris Air Show was no different. For the two largest manufacturers, Airbus announced it had booked 531 commitment and option units, for a total of $32.2 billion, and Boeing announced they had booked 371 commitment and option units for a total of $27.5 billion, impressive. Boeing announced its sale of the first 737 BBJ Max 9 order, and the 5th BBJ Max unit proving there is still demand for this large private jet. Other often seen private aircraft on display were the Gulfstream G650, Dassault Falcon 7X, the Piaggio Avanti, and obviously for the vertical lift off a range of helicopters from Eurocopter (now re-named Airbus Helicopters), and Bell. The new Airbus H160 medium size helicopter was there in mock-up form with its quiet blade technology and full composite airframe minimising corrosion issues in the marine environment.
So overall it was a very interesting and by the sounds of it, successful show. It was great to see some of the new technologies and ideas coming through from various manufacturers in different fields. We thoroughly recommend it.