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.
Paris Air Show
Airbus took some of the sting out of its rival Boeing’s blockbuster sales announcement yesterday with a pair of significant orders of its own for A350s and A320s.
Paris show organizer SIAE has responded to industry calls to downsize the event to make it more cost-effective for exhibitors, who have long struggled to justify the expense of taking their products and personnel on the international airshow circuit. Organizers have reduced the duration of the Paris show from nine to seven days by scrapping the traditional opening weekend.
Back in 2003, when then U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice was advising the White House on how to handle the diplomatic fall-out from the transatlantic row over the Iraq war she reportedly urged President Bush to “Punish the French, ignore the Germans and forgive the Russians.”
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.
Embraer entered the Paris Air Show on a roll last month and exited with a flourish, signing orders for fourteen 118-seat 195s with Flybe and twenty 190s with GECAS. The Brazilian company also found a new route to India with a preliminary commitment for two Embraer 170s and three 175s from start-up airline Paramount Airways.
First the good news, or at least the news that most people in the international aerospace and defense industry can agree on. Last month’s 46th Paris Air Show was the most dynamic and commercially upbeat gathering of the global business since the June 2001 show, which had been staged in what now seem like halcyon days just before 9/11 and the still-unfolding torment of what has followed.
The Farnborough International airshow appears to have rediscovered its vim and vigor, refreshed by a new format and site facilities. As this year’s show drew to a close, indications were that the event had drawn record attendance on its trade and public days.