Paris airshow opens on a high note
The biggest event in the aviation calender opened at Le Bourget airport north of Paris on Monday with industry giants hoping to close deals worth billions of dollars in the first Paris International Airshow since the end of the global financial crisis.
Boeing has already announced an order from Qatar Airways for six additional 777-300 long-haul aircraft worth an estimated 1.1 billion euros at list prices.
Boeing rivals, French-based Airbus, had a disappointing start to the event when one of its flagship A380 superjumbos clipped a building by the taxiway when it arrived on Sunday meaning it could not make a demonstration flight. The company was also criticised by Qatar Airways over a two-year delay in delivery of its A350 long-haul carrier which the Gulf company has ordered.
But there was some good news for the company after the announcement by Scandinavian airline, SAS, that it had placed an order worth 1.9 billion euros for 30 Airbus A320 neo with an option of 11 more.
Meanwhile, the third largest planemaker, Embraer of Brazil, has sold 39 of its 70-120 seat regional jets worth 1.19 billion euros to airlines in Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Kenya.
Separately, ATR, a joint venture of EADS and Italy’s Alenia which produces regional jets said US leasing giant GE Capital Aviation Services would buy 15 of its ATF 72-600 series and take an option on 15 more for 475 million euros.
The business side of the airshow is dominated by commercial aviation as spending on military aircraft has been depressed by government cutbacks, but the star of the show is expected to be a solar-powered plane.
The craft, which has a 63 metre wingspan, is as light as a family car. Weather permitting, the Solar Impulse is expected to demonstrate the future of aviation with daily flights around the site.
EADS will also showcase one of its more ambitious projects which is still on the drawing board. The rocket-powered ‘Zehst’ space plane is capable of taking 100 passengers from Paris to Tokyo in two and a half hours. The company hopes to have a prototype by 2020 and for the plane the enter commercial service around 2050.