Paris Set to Hail Recovery, Boeing Set To Dominate Show

 - June 13, 2011, 8:01 AM
Plans call for a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, dressed in its new “sunrise” livery, to make its international debut at the Paris Air Show on June 19. (Photo: Boeing)

Industry pundits expect the mood at this year’s Paris Air Show (June 20-26) will be markedly more positive than what prevailed during the last show in mid-2009, at the low-point of the aerospace industry’s most recent downturn. The global economy might be experiencing a fair degree of trepidation, but aircraft makers–at least in the civil air transport sectors–are seeing significant increases in demand and are ramping up production again. This could be reflected in a further wave of new orders being announced at Le Bourget next week.

This 49th Paris show is also set to be a bumper year in terms of exhibitor numbers, with 2,110 of them now assembling their displays at the site. And it is Boeing that is set to be the star of the show. That, in and of itself, might seem like quite a turnaround.

For a company that in recent years has showed, at best, an indifferent attitude toward the idea of bringing aircraft to airshows, Boeing appears to have executed a complete about-face in its approach to this year’s Paris event. The U.S. aerospace giant promises that no fewer than five of its commercial airplane models will grace Le Bourget’s static display line, including three test airplanes.

In celebration of Boeing’s self-proclaimed “year of the 747,” both the 747-8 Freighter and the Intercontinental passenger version–painted in its unusual (for Boeing) reddish-orange “sunrise” livery–will make their international debuts at the show. Plans call for the passenger airplane to arrive in Paris on June 19–just three months after it flew its maiden mission–and for the Freighter to land at Le Bourget on June 20 and spend two days on the static display line.  Boeing expects to deliver the first 747-8F to Cargolux some time this summer and the first Intercontinental to Lufthansa early next year.

Boeing has scheduled the first 787 flight-test airplane, ZA001, to arrive on June 22 and remain on display until the following day. Launch customer ANA expects to take delivery of its first 787 in August or September, after which Boeing plans to deliver no fewer than 11 more Dreamliners to various customers by the end of the year.

Finally, Air Berlin has agreed to bring one of its 737-700s with the new Boeing Sky Interior and Qatar Airways plans to lend a 777-200LR–the longest-range passenger airplane in the world–to the commercial lineup.

Next week, AIN brings you all the top news from the 2011 Paris Air Show. Instead of our usual Air Transport Perspective, look out for our special AIN Paris Reports e-newsletters. You can catch up with news from Le Bourget throughout the week at www.ainonline.com and follow us on Twitter @ainonline.

If you are in Paris for the show, be sure to pick up copies of AIN’s Paris Air Show News around the show site and at leading hotels in the city.