Industry prepares for Paris Air Show

 - October 16, 2006, 7:32 AM

This month’s 46th International Paris Air Show is already scheduled to feature the world’s largest passenger aircraft and the airliner with the longest range, and if the Ukrainians bring their Antonov An-225, the show will boast the world’s largest aircraft as well.

The Airbus A380, which first flew on April 27, is expected to be on static display at the event, which runs from June 13 through 19. Although the airplane will not be open to visitors because it is crammed with test equipment, it will participate daily in the flying display.

Boeing will be showing its new 777-200LR. The company claims that the -200LR is the airliner with the longest range (8,865 nm). And Paris Air Show officials said at a press briefing in late April that the Ukraine may have the An-225 Mriya super-heavy transport there as well.

Organizers are expecting about 1,800 exhibitors and more than 200 aircraft for the week-long show at Le Bourget Airport. And with the U.S. Defense Department now making nice with the French government, the American presence is expected to increase from that at the previous show. DOD participation “will be considerably better than in 2003,” said Joel Johnson, Aerospace Industries Association v-p for international affairs.

That’s most of the good news. The bad news is that security, always a hurdle at Paris, will be more stringent this year. “It will be maybe a little bit painful for you,” admitted Louis Le Portz, chairman of the Paris Air Show. Jean-Luc Joly, general manager of the show, painted a darker and utterly unvarnished picture, saying merely, “This year it is going to be dreadful.”

New Show Features

Business aviation will be well represented by Dassault, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Piaggio, Pilatus, Raytheon and other business aircraft manufacturers.

A new Hall 4/5 will house for the first time large international companies such as Rolls-Royce, United Technologies and Goodrich. A European pavilion in the center of the hall will include an area dedicated to small- and medium-size enterprises grouped by geographic region.

Following the success of the UAV sector at the 2003 show, and in response to demand from exhibitors, visitors and the media, organizers have made the UAV industry an integral part of this year’s show. UAVs will be represented in a 5,300-sq-ft exhibition area in Hall 4/5.

There will be a UAV static display and booths occupied by manufacturers such as EADS, Northrop Grumman, Israel Aircraft Industries and Sagem. There will also be a UAV awareness forum on June 14 and 15.

But visitors hoping to see  UAVs fly this year will be disappointed. Show organizers cited limited airspace over the highly populated area as the reason no UAV flying will be sanctioned at the show this year.

Another new feature of this year’s show is a 108,000-sq-ft outdoor exhibition area showcasing light aircraft. Located south of Halls 4 and 5, it will also have a giant screen on which visitors can watch the flying display.

The first four days of the show are reserved for trade visitors, while for the last three days the show will open to the public.