If you can imagine the Paris Air Show as a stock market then what happened at this year’s event (held from June 15 to 21) was nothing less than a rally, spurred by unexpectedly strong sales activity. With the worldwide economy still in the grasp of the largest downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s, most observers had predicted slim pickings at this year’s show.
Following congressional hearings last month on the February crash of a twin-engine turboprop near Buffalo, N.Y., senior officials from U.S. airlines, pilot unions and the FAA agreed in a closed-door meeting June 15 to several major actions to improve safety programs and pilot training at the nation’s airlines.
Satellite communications system supplier Cobham (Hall 2 Stand E83) has secured a contract to supply high-gain antennas for use on single-aisle and long-range Airbus airliners. The antennas first will be fitted to in-production A320-family airplanes pending certification of the configuration. Cobham’s HGA-7001 antenna will be used for long-range communication between pilots and ATC. The antenna supports Inmarsat SwiftBroadband services.
Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) is closing in on end-of-the-year certification for T3CAS, a product that combines a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS), terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) and mode-S transponder with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast capability (ADS-B) in a single unit.
Qatar Airways signed a firm contract yesterday for 24 Airbus A320-family aircraft in a deal that included the conversion of an option the operator placed during last year’s Farnborough air show for four A321s. Qatar expects to take delivery of the first of those airplanes this coming November, while yesterday’s new order for 20 A320s gets filled through the end of 2012.
Exactly two decades ago, the consortium that was to become International Aero Engines (Hall 5, Stand B10) was formed to build an engine, the V2500, to compete with CFM International’s CFM56 to power the Airbus A320. Since then, IAE has won itself a half-share of the world’s biggest civil market for aero engines and this year will mark delivery of the 4,000th engine and 50 million hours of service on the A320 series.
When EADS chief executive Louis Gallois briefed the world’s press just before the show he was taking to the podium against a backdrop of confusion over what caused the loss of an Air France Airbus A330 on June 1. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of AF447,” he began. “Even if the airshow is darkened by the accident, I think we have a great show ahead of us.
On Tuesday, the NTSB opened a three-day hearing to focus on the January 15 ditching on New York’s Hudson River by an Airbus A320 operating as US Airways flight 1549 from La Guardia Airport. All 150 passengers and five crew escaped, though one flight attendant and four passengers were seriously injured.
Notwithstanding Boeing’s announcement in April that it will cut 777 production from seven to five per month starting next June, the world’s two big airliner manufacturers appear out of touch with the harsh reality of their ability to fund aircraft deliveries this year, according to investment banks familiar with the lending environment.
EADS expects its Airbus unit to capture new gross orders for up to 300 aircraft this year, “even if it is becoming more challenging in the current market environment,” according to a company statement attached to its first-quarter earnings release. Based on a stable delivery assumption and a conversion rate of €1 to $1.39, EADS predicts that revenue should run roughly in line with last year’s.