Manufacturers Look for Success at Paris Air Show

Airbus' new A380plus, which made its public debut at the Paris Air Show this year, has struggled to gain attention (Photo: Airbus)

The Paris Air Show officially begins this Monday, marking the start of a week where the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturers look to show off their aircraft to prospective customers in an attempt to stir up fervor and gain orders.

2017 marks the 52nd edition of the air show, which first occurred in 1909. This year, Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier, among others, brought the latest and greatest aircraft they have to offer, hoping to ‘wow’ airline executives from across the globe.

The Aircraft

Boeing’s grand entrance at Le Bourget took place Saturday as pilots safely landed the two most notorious Boeing aircraft, the 787-10 and the 737 MAX 9.

In addition to the two passenger aircraft, the manufacturer brought over a P8-A Poseidon, V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, CH-47 Chinook helicopter, and an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter to showcase to potential customers in the military and defense industries.

The majority of Airbus’ airshow fleet touched down Sunday, including the A321neo, which stands for ‘new engine option’, along with the A350-1000. In addition, the carrier brought an improved version of their A380 aircraft, which they are calling the A380plus. The manufacturer claims the updated aircraft can hold 80 more seats and will have better aerodynamic performance, partly as a result of the new split winglet design.

The Japanese-made Mitsubishi Regional Jet will also be at the event, as will Lockheed Martin’s F-35A fighter jet. Though other aircraft will be in attendance, Canadian manufacturer Bombardier will bring their recently delivered CS300 jet in an attempt to stir up orders for the program that was rekindled at Paris-Le Bourget in 2015.

What To Expect From the Week

Many are expecting Boeing to utilize the Paris Air Show to launch the 737 MAX 10, which the manufacturer aims to use to compete with the A321neo. The MAX 10, which would hold between 190 and 230 seats, would be the fourth variant in the MAX family when its expected delivery date of 2020 rolls around.

A firm launch of the aircraft, according to Reuters, would likely lead to over 100 orders, most being “small to medium size.” A few airlines, especially low cost carriers spread out across Europe and Asia, and lessors, however, have expressed interest in purchasing large numbers of the new member of the MAX family.

Numerous sources are also expecting the American manufacturer to unveil details for an entirely new aircraft, currently touted as Boeing’s New Midsize Airplane, or NMA. The NMA family would fill the void between the 737 and 787, likely holding between 220 and 270 passengers.

Airbus is hoping to both revitalize their A380 program while strengthening the A320 family’s success. Even with the A380plus and A350-1000, most are expecting Airbus’ narrow body aircraft to steal the show.

While Airbus is not slated to announce any new aircraft over the course of the week, both the French manufacturer and Boeing are faced with the same troubles, chief among them being declining order numbers.

As oil prices continue to sit below where they have been in recent years, airlines and militaries alike are in less of a rush to replace old aircraft with newer ones. Even after the two goliath companies reached $107 billion in deals inked at the Paris Air Show in 2015, experts were quick to point out giants including the A380 again received no orders. Rather, the onus of the widebody market fell to the competing 787 and A350 aircraft.

The two companies have not explicitly stated what they feel would quantify as a successful week at Le Bourget. But for the rest of the week, engines will roar, contracts will be signed, and over 300,000 people from across the world will travel to a small airport outside Paris for one of the biggest events the aviation industry has ever seen.

Parker Davis

When he was just six months old, Parker took his first flight. From that point, he was destined to love aviation. His mom worked for Southwest Airlines much of his family have been frequent flyers on American Airlines for years, just as Parker is now. In 2015, Parker, inspired by aviation accounts on Instagram, decided to create an account of his own, and he hasn’t stopped spotting since. On top of that, Parker has been writing for his school paper since his freshman year and has been writing and doing photography work for AirlineGeeks since August 2016.
Parker Davis