France’s beleaguered President Jacques Chirac opened the 46th Paris Air Show here at Le Bourget yesterday. While his visit is intended primarily to cheerlead the country’s own aerospace and defense industry, he has lately proved to be a best friend to foreign exhibitors, too.
An optimistic Louis Le Portz flashed a broad smile as he contemplated the opening of this week’s Le Bourget salon just a few weeks prior to the event. He knows that his first stab as commissaire général, or commissioner, of the biennial Paris Air Show marks a recovery from four gloomy years of aerospace industry decline and a return to something resembling the conditions exhibitors enjoyed prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
After a lower court rejected its lawsuit against Euralair S.A. last month, Belgium’s Flying Group has appealed to a Paris court charging Euralair failed to comply with its commitment to assign the business assets of its Euralair Airport Services FBO (EAS) to Flying Group, which has included it in its plans to set up operations at Paris Le Bourget Airport.
Flying Group, the Antwerp-based aircraft charter, fractional ownership, management and handling company, views France as the main outlet for its growth strategy. It is putting this theory into practice by establishing substantial new bases at both Paris Le Bourget Airport and Cannes-Mandelieu.
The long-term redevelopment of Paris Le Bourget Airport (Booth No. 1229) takes a further step forward with the opening at the end of this month of a brand-new terminal to house two business aircraft operators/FBOs and several offices of other aviation-related companies.
Euralair Airport Services (EAS) expects to move into new FBO premises at Le Bourget Airport at the end of this month or early June, following the sale of the FBO site it has occupied there for more than 40 years.
The Million Air press conference yesterday was filled with announcements of new locations and executives for the FBO and franchise service provider.
Most important to the company was news that a corporate-owned FBO is now operational at Paris Le Bourget Airport, marking the first entrance of Million Air onto the European stage.
Paris Le Bourget FBO Euralair Airport Services (EAS) has renewed a five-year agreement to remain in the Exxon Mobil Avitat network until 2010. The French company is also preparing to move into new premises at Le Bourget as part of a deal with Belgium’s Flying Group, which will be taking over and rebuilding its existing facility.
FBOs at Paris Le Bourget Airport, which makes a strong claim to be Europe’s biggest dedicated business aviation gateway, are experiencing growth with a steady increase in business aviation movements. At the same time competition is heating up, with the arrival of a new operator, a merger between two existing bases and the prospect of a completely new executive terminal.
Olivier de l’Estoile has resigned after serving as president of the French chapter of the European Business Aviation Association for four years. The official announce-ment cited “personal reasons” for the surprise move. The new president of the Le Bourget Airport-based association is Serge Chevillard, manager of Ancenis Airport.