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.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Bloodied and bruised by the U.S. Air Force tanker fiasco, Boeing has fought back this week by bringing the first KC-767A to the Paris show. But yet another damning report on the aborted U.S. lease deal has not only further tarnished the company’s reputation but also cast doubt on whether the Pentagon really needs a new fleet of tankers anytime soon.
A huge commitment for Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s by Qatar Airways took top billing yesterday here in Paris. The Qatar announcement involved a total of 60 A350-800s and -900s along with a mix of 20 Boeing 777-300ERs, -200LRs and -200F freighters.
Jeppesen and Arinc yesterday announced an alliance that will integrate “best of class” EFB components from each company’s portfolios to produce what officials are billing as “the industry’s most advanced electronic flight bag system.” Arinc’s eFlightDeck technology combined with Jeppesen’s EFB software, applications and data will give buyers a complete package from a single source.
Bombardier Aerospace announced yesterday that Exeter, UK-based FlyBe has converted four options on the Bombardier Q400 turboprop airliners to firm orders. The contract is valued at about $100 million. Delivery of the four aircraft, coupled with the order for 20 Q400s announced January 27, will increase FlyBe’s Q400 fleet to 45 aircraft. Yesterday’s contract increases orders for the Q400 to 151 aircraft.
Korean Air has ordered $300 million worth of GP7200s from the Engine Alliance to power its Airbus A380s. The carrier has ordered 23 engines for the five A380s it has on firm order and will take another 13, worth a further $170 million, if it exercises its options for three more.
Here at the Paris Air Show yesterday, Stork and Northrop Grumman signed a framework contract worth $150 million for Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter airframe components. If the agreement translates into a firm order, Stork will produce 520 in-flight opening doors for all three types and 110 inner weapons bay doors for the STOVL version during the low-rate initial production phase.
Major helicopter manufacturers here in Paris are eagerly awaiting the expected release next month of a U.S. Air Force request for proposal (RFP) for a combat search-and-rescue helicopter to replace some 100 aging Sikorsky HH-60Gs. The RFP is expected to request 141 personnel recovery vehicles (PRVs) at a value of about $10 billion, with initial entry into service in 2011.
The Nordam Group and 3M’s Aerospace and Aircraft Maintenance Division announced they will begin collaborating on projects to serve customers around the world. Leveraging its expertise in making existing products and line lines “better,” 3M will provide technology and expertise to the Nordam Group to help it improve its product and service portfolio.
Qinetiq is here at the Paris Air Show with a new sunscreen for heat-sensitive aircraft. The UK-based research company has developed a new range of solar heat reflective coatings. The so-called low solar load (LSL) technology is aimed at reducing air-conditioning, insulation and heat-resistant materials needs.