The first day of one of the biggest events of the international aerospace industry has welcomed visitors with pouring rain.
The 50th edition of the Paris Airshow is showcasing the latest concepts and products of over 2,200 exhibitors from the industry, focusing mostly on quality and innovation. The organisers said they have invested some €50m to improve the infrastructure at the Le Bourget Exhibition Centre and introduced an innovative mobile app to help visitors navigate around. The app is said to be the world’s first indoor-outdoor geo-location app and also enables monitoring of flight schedules in real time.
However, the two plane-making giants Boeing and Airbus are getting the most attention with their expected battle over the big-jets market, which is of strategic importance to both of them. America’s Boeing said last week it estimates a $1 trillion market over the next 20 years for mid-sized, twin-engined passenger jets, a category that includes its 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus has introduced its new A350 aircraft during a maiden flight last Friday, while Boeing is awaited to announce the new Boeing 787-10, a new version of the Dreamliner, on Tuesday. Insiders said that Boeing has already secured two deals for the prospective vehicle, with General Electric and GECAS being the first two buyers of the enlarged Boeing plane, which offers additional 323 seats.
Boeing’s European rival Airbus has, on the other hand, signed a deal with an influential German leasing company Doric Asset Finance to build 20 Airbus A380 superjumbos.
Canada’s Bombardier Inc is exploring the same cutting-edge technology behind Dreamliner and A350 for the purposes of smaller planes.
The military part of this year’s airshow seems to be less spectacular compared to previous years. Budget cuts have prevented the US government from bringing F-16 jets, which usually perform during the show, and Lockheed Martin Corp hasn’t brought even the mock-up model of F-35, the Pentagon's largest program which faces concerns about costs.
The Paris Airshow was established in 1909 and is being for the 50th time this year.