September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
ON TOUR: The Paris Air Show
The Paris Air Show opened last Monday (instead of the usual Sunday) with bright skies and all the usual problems regarding actually getting in. With this the 46th offering you would have thought that the organisers would have got it right, but in truth neither Paris nor Farnborough have solved the access problem. ABTN is of the belief that the RER from the centre of the city for just E2 and then a 2k, mainly uphill, walk from Le Bourget station is the best and quickest way in if you are fit and don”t have a car or chauffeur. There is a bus service which normally gets stuck in the traffic. The real problem is actually getting through security which really does slow entering. Those arriving by private aircraft were in many cases not that much better off with a breakdown at times between air and surface transport organisers. ABTN will repeat these warnings just before the show in two years' time.
With less new aircraft, and with some wonderful oldies flying too, after the first day, the actual air display programme did not actually get under way until 1300 (more like Farnborough), and starting with the helicopters. By the time Rafale, Eurofighter and Sukhoi made their noisy appearances lunch for the most part had been consumed. Airbus stole the scene with the A380 and its smaller siblings whilst Boeing put up no commercial aircraft, although the C-17 Globemaster III does carry passengers. The DC 10 tanker fire fighting aircraft was another show stopper. That's water not smoke!
The normal procedure for the media at Paris is a whole series of press conferences and briefings. This year it was obvious that the TV and newsreel people were trying to take over the whole event, vast teams of cameramen, reporters and hangers-on roaming all over the place and getting in everyone and each other”s way. Just how many A380 angles are there? Some restrictions are needed for another time.
Media exposure is the name of the game. Who can shout the loudest and most often? But what is the difference between an order, announcement, memorandum of understanding and commitment? Would you buy a product whose specification is not confirmed, delivery date not agreed and price not settled? Probably not. An aircraft first sold to a leasing company and then hired to an airline is worth two press announcements. It all gets very confusing. Both Airbus and Boeing were busy shouting from the rooftops (or in fact from the luxurious chalets). One can only wonder if one were to look back at the show in five years' time how many of the paper orders turn into actual hardware.
Airbus and Boeing we have noted within the ABTN news stories but next up, Embraer were also announcing orders with a new Indian airline, Paramount, taking pride of place with two 170s direct from the manufacturers and a further three from GECAS with deliveries due to start later this year. Harrods Aviation, based at Luton, took delivery during the week of a 16-seat version of the Legacy business jet based on the EMB 135. Sales director Mike Creed is the centre of our photograph. Bombardier had a quiet show with the announcement that the new 'C' series aircraft would be powered by a Pratt and Whitney Canada engine and further Dash 400 business from Flybe taking the British airline's firm order up to 45 aircraft. A first order was announced for the Challenger 850, a development of the CRJ series with 27 seats instead of 50. ATR came up with a whole basket of orders, high fuel costs and competitive pricing for an established line showing that the turboprop is far from dead. Production has settled down to between 15/20 units per year and a healthy second hand market. In what is an unusual move Grob Aerospace took its prototype six-seat utility jet to the show prior to its first flight, due in July. Having built 3,500 composite aircraft since its founding in 1971 there is no reason why the new 'plane will not be a great success.
As if to take the focus of the world”s aviation media away from Paris, news developed over the week that the Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry, was announcing in Tokyo a joint initiative by his country and French aerospace interests in developing a supersonic jet to replace Concorde. Some of the press got excited but similar programmes have been under way in the US for some time including projects which would virtually eliminate the so-called sonic boom.