Visitor numbers down but Paris Air Show was a ‘good vintage’

Le Bourget: This year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget has proved a “good vintage” with orders up 13 per cent though fewer visitors showed up, organisers said as the event wound down on Sunday.
Tight security owing to an ongoing state of emergency in the wake of several terror attacks in France in the past 18 months saw the number of visitors slide compared with the last edition two years ago — the event alternates with Farnborough in England.
But orders rose to $150 billion (134 billion euros) compared with the $130 billion the industry put in its order books two years ago, with giants Boeing and Airbus between them taking the lion’s share with $114 billion — $74.8 billion and $39.7 billion respectively.
Boeing managed to outpace its rival thanks to its new 737 MAX 10 airliner, taking in a total of 571 orders and commitments, with the plane aimed at the biggest part of the commercial airline market — single-aisle aircraft for medium-range flights.
The jet promises even more fuel economy thanks to improvements in aerodynamics and engine performance. But Airbus did win a big order from Iran’s Zagros Airlines for 20 planes of the A320neo family and eight of the A330neo type. The show also highlighted inflight Internet access — a nascent market still hobbled by slow speeds — which will soon take off as dedicated satellites make surfing in the skies a reality, analysts at the show said.
Marc Rochet, chief executive of the low-cost airline French Blue, said midweek that more than half of global commercial aircraft could be kitted out by 2021.
“It’s a very good vintage in terms of business,” said Emeric d’Arcimoles, the commissioner general overseeing the event which opened exclusively to professionals Monday to Thursday before letting in the public at large.
The number of professional visitors slipped six per cent from two years ago to 140,000 — which d’Arcimoles blamed largely on “budgetary restrictions” for many companies in the sector as well as on the tight security required under France’s state of emergency. — AFP