SLe Bourget 2023 fair: 158 aircraft on display, 2,498 exhibitors from 47 countries, 304 official delegations, 296 start-ups, 320,000 visitors expected. Even before the opening of the Paris Air Show, Monday June 19, and this, until Sunday June 25, the 2019 figures are exploded. This is the last reference, for lack of the 2021 edition canceled due to Covid.
The analysis of the first tendencies of this 54e edition shows that it will be necessary to resort to new superlatives. In particular, aircraft orders could explode with a total of 2,000 aircraft (including recent United, Air India, Indigo contracts), according to experts from AlixPartners. We are still talking about the number of devices, no longer two-digit, but three-digit. Thus, at previous shows, an order for 25 aircraft was considered honorable. This year, we are changing gears with commitments for 100, 150, 500 planes, even if the order for 600 planes in the making with Turkish Airlines will not be finalized this month of June but a few weeks later. However, let’s not be mistaken, these contracts correspond to communication operations reporting “exaggerated” orders, because they are shifted in time.
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Preparation for Operation Bourget
At Airbus as at Boeing, the small number of signatures revealed in recent months hides this preparation for Operation Bourget. Thus, Airbus only posted 17 orders in May and only 161 since the start of the year, according to the recent compilation by ID AERO. Normally, outside of this event context, these figures should be interpreted as an indication of the “beginning of the end” for the European aircraft manufacturer, which could close factories. It would then be time for unions and politicians to get active in the face of a bankruptcy that would be resounding. Fortunately, the order books at the end of June, strong perhaps of a thousand planes at Airbus as at Boeing, will be chubby…
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A celebration in two stages, this is the rhythm of the International Aeronautical and Space Show, from June 19 to 25 in 2023, with first four professional days followed by three days for the general public. The counterpart exhibition London Airshow, in even years, is not comparable. Indeed, the British are giving up on weekend public days and flight demonstrations. At Le Bourget, from Monday to Thursday, we work on contracts, we establish contacts with partners among the 2,500 exhibitors, we prospect for customers, we come across nearly 300 military delegations around the 140 aircraft on the ground… 140,000 professional visitors are thus expected, which must show their credentials to buy (expensive) an entry badge. The President of the Republic is expected all day Monday while the Prime Minister will deliver a speech on the challenges of this industry sector on Friday.
The public can come from Friday (free day for students) and attend every day until Sunday for 4:30 am to in-flight presentations for 17 euros (many reductions). The plateau in flight with 35 aircraft, these three days, against 20 at the beginning of the week, is reinforced by the arrival of vintage aircraft. Every day will fly the Airbus range and for the first time the A321XLR the long-haul at medium-haul costs. Boeing will exhibit the three B737, B787 and B777 aircraft in its civil range as well as the Apache and Chinook helicopters, the B1B bomber, the C17 Globemaster, the F15 fighter, etc. Dassault will present the Falcon 6X business jet and, with the Air Force, the Rafale. The competition will be tough with the American F35 from Lockheed Martin, the F16 in Belgian colours, the Spanish Eurofighter. Another transport juggernaut, the Airbus A400M operates at low speed.
There were 180,000 enthusiasts in previous editions, probably as many this year if the weather is nice and not too hot. The organizer of the show, the Grouping of French Aeronautical and Space Industries (Gifas), is not disinterested when it tries to arouse popular enthusiasm. The target is indeed that of young people but also of parents who will be able to encourage their offspring to move towards aeronautical careers. Some 25,000 recruitments are planned for 2023.
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The aircraft presented in flight and on the ground are listed by the organizer on its site where you can filter by day, country, type, etc., display a technical sheet of the aircraft(s) sought and thus build your visit program according to their areas of interest.
No drones in flight, the urban isolation of the site and the proximity of Roissy-CDG airport do not allow them to be operated in safety. On the other hand, with a pilot on board, the eVTOL VC200 from Volocopter, an electric flying taxi, will be presented. Another interesting demonstrator, VoltAero’s Cassio 1 is a hybrid aircraft that prefigures a series to be built in a new factory in Rochefort with funding obtained from France 2030.
Bomber. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer now only produces business jets that held the show last month in Geneva. The airliner branch of Bombardier C-Series has become A220 in the Airbus range which has taken over the activity and still assembles the planes in Mirabel north of Montreal but also in Mobile (Alabama).
Comac 919. The Chinese medium-haul twin-engine, which just made its first commercial flight between Beijing and Shanghai on May 28 in the colors of China Eastern, has so far only been certified by the Chinese authorities. It cannot therefore fly outside of China, unless there is an exemption. Is it a real competitor for the A320 or the B737? We will come back to it. The opening of the borders in January enabled many Chinese manufacturers to exhibit at Le Bourget.
Russia. For obvious reasons, the presence of Russia is not desired. Ukraine is however present with an engine manufacturer. In previous editions, the presentation of Russian planes was very limited, as they risked being seized by bailiffs following legal disputes. Fifty years ago in 1973, the Tupolev 144 crashed during a flight demonstration at Le Bourget after that of its rival Concorde.