The Paris Air Show attracts not just buyers and sellers of aircraft and related equipment, but also the buyers and sellers of the companies that make them. The aerospace and defense sectors have been hotbeds of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in recent years, and the bankers who guide and cajole these deals have once again flocked to Le Bourget.
As launch customer Qatar Airways prepares to receive new Airbus A350s next year, the Arab operator will train using an operations department at the manufacturer’s Toulouse factory in southwest France. Until then, Airbus plans to conduct flight-test activities to mirror airlines operations at that facility.
The drive for low collateral damage weapons continues, and one recent focus has been on making air-ground rockets ‘smarter’ by adding seekers. The U.S. has led the way, but Europe is catching up. Rocketsan of Turkey has developed a product; and now Thales subsidiary TDA Armaments is flight-testing a metric precision rocket (French acronym RPM) on the Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter.
On June 3 the Air and Space Museum, located here in the historical buildings of the former Le Bourget airport passenger terminal, held the grand opening of the restored “Salle des Huit Colonnes” (“Hall of the Eight Pillars”) in art deco style–the spectacular heart of the 1,100-foot-long building. The restoration is part of a €25 million ($32 million) project encompassing the institution’s entire premises.
The 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition–popularly known as Airshow China–will be held in Zhuhai, Guandong from Nov. 11-16, 2014. Started in 1996 as the Zhuhai Airshow, it has since been held biennially. It is the only international aerospace trade show in China with a flying display that is endorsed by the State Council in Beijing.
“It’s clear for us that this is the year of the A400M. The aircraft is ready, and it will be the reference for the next 30 years.” These were the words of Airbus Military’s Domingo Ureña-Raso, speaking just prior to the Paris Air Show.
In preparation for the formal acceptance by the Armée de l’Air (AdA) of the first production A400M, Airbus Military has been working hard with its customers and suppliers to put in place a comprehensive support and training program to facilitate the A400M’s entry into service. That package is being forged largely through experience with the first customer, France, so that it can be used as a model for application to following customers.
Boeing and the U.S. Army completed the first flight of an enhanced medium-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (Emarss) aircraft in late May. The modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER is the first of four Emarss engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft that Boeing is developing for the Army.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for its new A350XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10:00 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines, safely touched down back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
The 2013 Paris Air Show–the 50th since the biennial event started in 1909–opens on Monday with its exhibitor count at a 10-year high of 2,200 companies from 44 countries. Much of the pre-show excitement this week has been built on expectations that Airbus might take the opportunity to give its new A350XWB airliner a high-profile public debut.