The Paris Air Show
From 17 to 23 June, the aerospace industry was in the spotlight in the aisles of the Paris Air Show, which is held every two years. The sector, whose turnover grew by 16% in 2012, has beaten all records. This was an opportunity for industry players to meet, present their latest innovations and promote their trades.
With a turnover of €42.5 billion in 2012, the aerospace industry is one of those sectors that are doing well. During the 50th Paris Air Show, more than 2160 exhibitors from 44 countries shared 54,000m² of stands and 43,000m² of outdoor space. This vast surface sufficed to host the main European and American manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, as well as Safran and Thales, not to mention numerous high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises, which thus promoted their innovations. Such was, for example, the case of Laselec, which specializes in designing and manufacturing laser cable markers. It presented its new portable laser wire-stripping technology.
A first for the A350
On the major manufacturers’ side, a great deal of space was reserved for the stars of aerospace, from the A400M to Dassault’s Rafale to the A380. A total of 130 aircraft were registered for this year’s event. The A350-XWB, the first example of the new Airbus long-haul carrier, hot from the workshops, undertook its inaugural flight during the Show.
The EADS Innovation Works research laboratory, for its part, presented the prototype of an electric-powered two-seater aeroplane for flying schools. This engine system is capable of reducing noise and recovering energy during descent and on-ground braking phases.
Russians in the sky
The Show was marked by a strong Russian presence. Russia’s aerospace manufacturers demonstrated several fighter planes in flight, along with presentations of the Sukhoi 35, the Yak 130 and the Super Jet 100, among others.
Delegations from Canada, Morocco, South Korea and the Czech Republic were in the aisles of the Show, not to mention China, which was represented in particular by the manufacturer Comac.
“The Paris Air Show is a superb showroom”, says Patrick Guérin, Communications Director of the French Aerospace Industries Group (Groupement des industries françaises de l’aéronautique et de l’espace, GIFAS), responsible for organizing the event. Business-to-business meetings aimed at putting buyers and exhibiting companies in contact with one another were held throughout the event. During the previous event in 2011, which saw record footfall with 54,000 visitors - twice as many as in the other major shows such as Farnborough and Dubai - 4500 meetings took place.
Airbus in the lead?
Media rivalry was afoot between all industry stakeholders at the Show. All contracts signed with air companies in the month preceding the Paris Air Show are generally made official during the event: a way to take advantage of the Show’s media attention. The two giants of the aerospace industry, Airbus and Boeing, were once again in the spotlight. In late April, the European Airbus group announced 493 orders since the beginning of the year – twice as many as its American rival – thanks largely to the Neo aircraft, the A320 New Engine Option. This aircraft satisfies many airlines, Airbus having received 2125 orders at the end of April.
A sector with prospects
In the area of jobs, the Show’s organizers promoted the good health of the aerospace industry. The sector recruited 15,000 employees in 2012, with more job offers than applications, unlike many other industries. Thus, this year the organizers invited young people to board the “Careers Plane”. In this exhibition, aerospace operators, technicians and engineers presented their trades. “The aim was to highlight the recruitment needs of this industry which faces increasing orders and pace of production, particularly on Airbus’ assembly sites", said Patrick Guérin.