The 2003 Paris Air Show will open its doors June 15 to 22 against a backdrop of bitter conflict and recriminations. But enough of relations between the U.S. and France. This year’s Le Bourget show also cannot fail to be overshadowed by the ramifications of the war in Iraq, which, as of press time, was still raging, despite the best efforts of the Chirac administration and several other major world leaders to halt the conflict.
Paris Air Show
Aéroports de Paris (AdP) is seeking to expand the commercial horizons of the French capital’s dedicated business aviation gateway, after several years in which its ambitions to attract new based operators and service companies have been dented by an adverse economy. At the same time, the airport has made progress both on controlling aircraft noise and on implementing more effective security controls.
The number of trade days at the next Farnborough International Air Show (July 18 to 23, 2006) has been reduced from five to four. Instead of starting on Monday, as it has in the past, the event will run from Tuesday through Sunday, and the first four days will be reserved for professional visitors, while the weekend will continue to be set aside for the public. There is no officially designated media day.
Dubai may harbor ambitions of one day hosting an airshow to outshine those held in Paris and Farnborough, but on one score the Gulf emirate is already well ahead. The nearly $80 billion worth of aircraft sales commitments announced through the first two days of the show smashed all-time records and easily surpassed even an impressive tally recorded at June’s Paris Air Show.
Rolls-Royce has notched another sale of its Trent XWB engine for the Airbus A350XWB, this time to International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).
Paradoxically, business aviation will have both a lower and a higher profile at this year’s Farnborough Air Show, to be held July 22 to 28 in the UK. Lower, because several executive aircraft manufacturers have opted to give the event a miss this time around. Higher, because, for the first time ever, the UK airport will not be closed to corporate traffic for the duration of the show.
US Airways has placed a firm order for 92 Airbus airliners, including the first ever for the A350XWB by a U.S. airline.
Airbus remains tight-lipped on the subject of what it calls the A380 “Flying Palace,” but that hasn’t kept rumors from swirling or designers from developing proposals for a cabin on two levels with some 6,800 sq ft of living space.
When Airbus tentatively entered the corporate jet market a decade ago with the ACJ, its expectations for the airplane were modest. Success would be measured in single-digit sales primarily to wealthy individuals in the Middle East who dreamed of creating miniature flying palaces.
The Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor program is moving forward, according to a Bell spokesman, with two more flight-test ships scheduled to join the two already flying over the next 18 months. However, there are some indications that the program, now into its 10th year, is beginning to falter.