This week’s historic Paris Air Show may yet deliver its usual share of surprises, but one apparent certainty is that very few of the exhibitors are likely to go home richer off the back of new orders announced here at Le Bourget. That certainly seems to be true of the commercial air transport sector, but there is some prospect of two important deals being sealed on the military side.
The world’s passenger and cargo airlines will spend money on new aircraft at an average rate of just over $5,000 per second over the coming 20 years, according to Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Or, to put it another way, the U.S. manufacturer forecasts a $3.2 trillion market requirement involving some 29,000 commercial jetliners (including 710 new freighters) between 2009 and 2028.
Less than three months ago, on March 24, General Electric’s newest engine, the GEnx-2B, took to the air on the company’s Boeing 747 flying test bed, marking another milestone in the development of its latest and most advanced civil powerplant.
Market conditions have hardly been kind to aerospace these past six months or so, but when a company is celebrating its 250th birthday–as GKN is this year–it can probably afford to take the long view.
With the A380 very-large airliner firmly established in production and airline operation, Airbus is now hard at work on its next project: the three-model A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet family. It is about to begin production detailed design for
the mainly carbon-fiber aircraft, which is competing against the Boeing 787 and which Airbus claims also could replace the larger Boeing 777.
BizJet International, a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik (Booth No. 343), received its first Airbus A318 Elite for interior completion at its Tulsa, Oklahoma facility this month. The airplane is scheduled for delivery back to Airbus in autumn with both FAA and EASA supplemental type certificate approvals.
Boeing Business Jet (Booth No. 7051) expanded its product line of ultra-large business jets with modifications targeted at the smallest and largest of its models–“smallest” being relative only to airliner-size business aircraft.
The narrow- and widebody executive VIP completions market has been unaffected by the economic crisis, according to executives for Germany’s Lufthansa Technik. The Hamburg-based completions specialist has had no cancellations since the global recession began, and in fact has received three new letters of commitment from customers in the last six months.
Airbus’s VIP division continues to benefit from an industry segment that if not immune to the current economic recession and credit crisis, appears at the very least to be relatively unaffected.
Jet Aviation Basel, one of Europe’s largest completion facilities, has to live with the long lead times unavoidable in its business, but they can be a blessing in recessionary times. The company has a several-year backlog for large airline-sized aircraft and a little less for purpose-built business jets, which should allow it to bridge a possible reduction in new orders.