Paris International Air Show 2019

Published: Friday, August 9, 2019

Boeing, Brexit and sluggish business dominate Paris Air Show

Business was obviously a bit sluggish at the airshow. In 2017, the show had stronger than expected orders, underlining the robust health of the airline industry. It did business worth over USD150 billion in 2017 and this edition it was down to USD140 billion. Some attribute it to the general state of world economies and some point to the fact that Boeing Commercial is yet to recover from its debacle.

The world’s numero uno airshow, Paris International Airshow at Le Bourget, has its ups and downs and this edition, 53rd, was marred by reduced business— nearly US$10 billion less than the previous event.

Mainly because one of the key players in commercial aircraft business – Boeing – going through a rough patch following the back-to- back accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX where some 346 people were killed in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The accidents prompted airlines across the globe to ground their B- 737 MAX planes indefinitely and Boeing to re-examine extensively the model and rectify the problems on its software program. The incidents also forced the aviation sector to put more emphasis on safely policies.

Besides the Boeing-factor, Brexit has also been looming large on the aerospace and defence sector in Europe. It remains to be seen how the European Union and the United Kingdom will wade through the rough currents.

Airbus dominates
Back to commercial airlines, Airbus ruled the roost, having easily edged out its archrival Boeing. The US aerospace giant opened its account with freighter bookings.

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) entered into an agreement with Boeing for purchase rights of 10 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF). GECAS also signed for 15 extra purchase rights for the same aircraft. The Senior Vice President of GECAS Cargo, Richard Greener said “Our leasing customers are very pleased with the versatility and reliability of these freighters.”

ASL and China Airlines also endorse BCF

Besides huge orders from Qatar Airways, Boeing had freighter wins from ASL Aviation Holdings DAC which signed for 20 737-800 BCF (with 10 firm orders and 10 purchase rights).
Since its launch, the 737-800 BCF has bagged 120 orders and commitments from eight customers worldwide.
China Airlines also placed orders for six 777 freighters in their bid to expand the freighter business and also modernize their fleet.

Sluggish business

Business was obviously a bit sluggish at the airshow. In 2017, the show had stronger than expected  orders, underlining the robust health of the airline industry.

It did business worth over USD150 billion in 2017 and this edition it was down to USD140 billion. Some attribute it to the general state of world economies and some point to the fact that Boeing Commercial is yet to recover from its debacle.

What really propped Boeing was the huge order of the International Aviation Group for 200 airplanes (mix of 737 Max 8 and Max 10) and it is said that IAG had a ‘sweet deal’, valued at over USD24 billion.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister said, “We are truly honored and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 Max and ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else.”

Regional aircraft players pitch in

The regional aircraft segment also did fairly good business with both ATR and Embraer having quite a few signing moments. At Paris, ATR, partially owned by Airbus, announced the launch of ATR 42-600S which has feature of shorter take-off and landing, using 800 meter runways.

ATR had 145 new orders at the show, being the third largest seller by units. Embraer which is celebrating its 50th anniversary also had a good outing. Embraer picked in all 78 new orders with United Airlines ordering 39 E175s (including 19 options); KLM Cityhopper 35 E-195 E2 (including 15 firm); 2 each from Japan’s Fuji Dream and Spain’s Binter.

CFM gets record-breaking orders

On engine sales, CFM, a joint venture between GE and Safran, notched up a huge order from India’s low cost airline IndiGo. CFM engines will power 280 Airbus A320neo and A321 neo aircraft.

“IndiGo has been a CFM customer since 2016 and currently operates a fleet of 17 A320ceo aircraft powered by CFM56-5B engines as part of a total fleet of 215 A320/A321 family aircraft. Delivery of the first LEAP-1A- powered A320neo is scheduled in 2020,” IndiGo said.

AirAsia also decided to purchase of 200 Leap-1A engines to power the airline’s 100 A321neos.

Pratt & Whitney signs up with JetSmart

Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp announced that JetSmart had selected the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine to power 85 firm order Airbus A320neo family aircraft.

Pratt & Whitney will also provide JetSmart  with engine maintenance through a 12-year comprehensive service agreement. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2019.

Safran Helicopter Engines receives EASA certification

Safran Helicopter Engines has received EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) Type Certification for its Arrano 1A engine, installed in the Airbus Helicopters H160.

Arrano is a new generation engine
in the 1,100 to 1,300 shp power range, perfectly suited for new four-to-six ton helicopters. The H160 made its first flight with the Arrano in January 2016.

7 top aerospace companies join hands on aviation sustainability

While the aircraft and engine manufacturers competed aggressively for a bite of the aviation pie, seven of the top aerospace players – Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, GE, Rolls Royce, Safran and UTC have joined hands for aviation sustainability. The seven big players were represented by their technology heads and they are – Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Airbus; Dr. Greg Hyslop, CTO of The Boeing Company and senior Vice President of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology; Dr. Bruno Stoufflet, CTO of Dassault Aviation; Dr. Eric Ducharme, Chief Engineer, GE Aviation; Paul Stein, Executive Leadership Team, Rolls Royce; Stephane Cueille, CTO of Safran; and Paul Eremenko, Engineering and R&D head, United Technologies Corporation.

Joint statement

In a joint statement issued by the seven companies, they outlined three major technological elements to sustainable aviation:

  • Continuing to develop aircraft and engine design and technology in a relentless pursuit of improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.
  • Supporting the commercialisation of sustainable, alternate aviation fuels . Around 185 , 000 commercial flights have already proven that today’s aircraft are ready to use them.
  • Developing radically new aircraft and propulsion technology and accelerating technologies that will enable the ‘third generation’ of aviation.

“We are excited by this third generation of aviation and, even though all of the represented companies have different approaches, we are all driven by the certainty of its contribution to the role of aviation in a sustainable future. We believe aviation is entering its most exciting era since the dawn of the Jet Age. This third era promises a transformative positive impact on lives around the globe – and we stand ready to make it a reality,” the joint statement reads.

Commercial, business and military aircraft and systems got a lot of visibility at Le Bourget, the venue of the Paris Airshow which attracted 2, 453 exhibitors ( 1, 185 French exhibitors) from 48 countries.
The top five exhibiting countries were USA, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and Belgium. There were 150 start-ups from 21 countries.

About 140 aircraft were on display (both static and aerial). In all, the airshow had footfalls of 3,16,470. While these numbers are good, the orders are not commensurate as the shadow of Brexit still looms large and the general aviation economic downturn.