Launch of the 2011 Paris Air Show

Posted on 20 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

An unprecedented number of UK and Ireland aerospace manufacturers are attending the Paris Air show this week. TM found out what some of these companies hope for and expect from the event.

The air show, which begun today (Monday 20th June), is a chance for aerospace manufacturers of all sizes from all over the world to display their products and secure deals with existing or new customers. The three days at the end of the week are designated for members of the public to attend.

With 2,000 international exhibitors, 138,000 trade visitors and 193,000 general public visitors the show is classed as one of the largest in the world. There are over 140 different aircrafts on display, and of these 42 will be flown at the event.

Solar Impulse’s achievement’s recognised

A highlight of the show is the presence of the Solar Impulse team and its revolutionary solar airplane; an invitation that comes in the wake of the recent successes of the project launched in 2003 by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

In June last year, for the first time in history, an aircraft has successfully flown night and day without any fuel, powered for 26 hours exclusively by solar energy. A second prototype, HB-SIB, is now being developed to repeat the great firsts in aviation, like crossing the Atlantic and the USA, and flying round the world in stages each lasting several days from 2014.

Solar Impulse’s solar powered plane

Bombardier hopes to reverse bad luck

After suffering the loss of a contract worth over £3bn for making trains for the north-south cross rail link, Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier seemed to be holding quite a lot of information back when asked about what they would be revealing at the show this week. Asked by the Montreal Gazette what Bombardier would be doing this year in terms of new technology and products, president Guy Hachey displayed much the same attitude to the press as he did last year: “Stay tuned” was the general mantra. However, he did promise that customers would be seeing more activity from the company, and disclosed that he was hopefully that orders for the new version of the CSeries future jetliner would take off, after the failure to get a single order for the model after last year’s Farnborough Air Show.

The Airbus and Boeing dogfight

Rapidly increased fuel costs are a huge issue for both Airbus and Boeing customers, who will see their profits plunge to $4 billion this year from $18 billion in 2010 according to the Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast released earlier this month. Major airlines have increased fares seven times since the start of the year as fuel prices rose. The air show will also be the battleground in the yearly showdown between Boeing and Airbus for dominance in booking new orders. Airlines in fast-growing Asian and Middle Eastern countries have been ordering hundreds of new aircraft to meet rising air traffic in the above mentioned parts of the world.

Airbus suffered a blow today after one of its A380 superjumbo jets was grounded after suffering damage to its wing tip Sunday after the slow-speed collision with a building at Le Bourget airport. Airbus quickly found a replacement jet for demonstration flights during the air show, an A380 operated by Korean Air. Other setbacks for the plan manufacturer include the forced cancellation of a demonstration flight of the Airbus A400M military transport plane after a reported minor fault with the gearbox.

Airbus parent EADS will show off plans for a rocket-powered space aircraft capable of taking 100 passengers from Paris to Tokyo in two-and-a-half environmentally friendly hours. The Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation (ZEHST) aircraft will take off using normal engines powered by biofuel made from seaweed, before using its rocket engines when it reaches 32,000 metres – the edge of space. The rocket engines will be powered by hydrogen and oxygen whose only exhaust is water vapour.

The aerospace group EADS’ chief technical officer Jean Botti said: “You don’t pollute [because] you’re in the stratosphere.” EADS hopes to have a prototype created by 2020, and for the aircraft to enter commercial service around 2050. Airbus is on home turf and flying high on the back of Asian orders for its new fuel efficient A320 Neo worth more than $10 billion. However, US rival Boeing is also expected to unveil large new orders.

China raises its profile in Paris

Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing’s commercial aircraft operations commented on the rise of the Chinese aerospace sector: “They are improving all the time … making huge investments.”

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) is making its first appearance in Paris, with a mock-up of the cockpit and fuselage of its C919, which targets the medium-haul market dominated by Boeing’s B737 and Airbus’ A320. Albaugh warned that Chinese aerospace manufacturers were likely to win contracts sooner than anyone expected.

Comac’s C919 passenger plane

Comac is displaying its C919 passenger plane in Hall 5 of the show, and so far has drawn a lot of interest from trade visitors. President of Comac, Jin Zhuanglong said: “We expect to strengthen exchange with foreign partners at the show. Several contracts are also expected in the coming days.”

A|D|S views of Paris

Rees Ward, CEO of A|D|S, the British aerospace trade organisation said last week in anticipation of the air show: “Of course there are the household UK names present, but we are also witnessing an encouraging amount of interest from the UK SME community eager to engage in the international marketplace, with a range of companies such as Cooper Antennas or Amfin making their presence known.”

After the sucesses of the Farnborough Air Show last year, the UK’s pavilion floorspace fold out early this year. Further space was created in response to such large demand, prehaps reflecting the increase in SME participation. It is one of the strongest showings from UK exhibitors in recent years at the Paris Air Show.

A|D|S tweeted this morning (Monday 20th June): “London to New York in 90 minutes: is this the Concorde of the future?” Excitement about Airbus’ ZEHST aircraft is widespread at the event.

Beagle Aerospace

UK component manufacturer and airline structural component repair specialist, Beagle Technology Group (formerly Beagle Aerospace) is announcing its new name and restructure at the Paris Air Show this week. The new organisation comprises six new Beagle companies: Maintenance Repair & Overhaul, Aerospace, Defence, Composites, Treatments and Precision. All information relating to the new companies can be found on a new website:

Additionally, the Beagle Technology Group is showcasing its thrust reverser overhaul capability and several other aircraft components for the first time at the Paris Air Show this week.

John Taylor, Managing Director, said:

“The past 10 months has been a very exciting time for the Company: we have undergone a phase of major investment, expansion and restructuring, resulting in the launch of the new Beagle Technology Group.”

“We are delighted to present our thrust reverser overhaul capability and other components at the Paris Air Show for the first time and we anticipate considerable interest from our customers around the world, especially as today we announce the addition of 737 New Gen reverser capability.”

George Archer