What to expect (and not to expect) at the 2013 Paris Air Show
It seems like yesterday that we were all talking about the 2012 Farnborough Airshow and the record orders that were placed, like United's agreement to purchase 150 Boeing 737's. We also couldn't stop watching those videos of the Qatar Airways 787 and Malaysian a380 doing exactly what they were designed not to do. In total, almost 500 aircraft were ordered during the 1 week event. As many of you know, the location of Europe's main air show rotates each year between Farnborough in the United Kingdom and Le Bourget in Paris, France. Well, this years headlining air show is just a couple of months away. The 2013 Paris Air Show will take place from June 17th to the 23rd at the Le Bourget Airport, just a few miles away from Paris' Charles De Gaulle International. I am excited to have the opportunity to travel to the show this year so that I can cover it first hand. In addition to the awesome lineup of Commercial and military aircraft that will be on display and performing at the show, we can expect a large number of orders from airlines all over the world as it looks like the industry has officially turned around and begun to steadily grow again. Last years orders at Farnborough were dominated by smaller, narrow-body mainline aircraft. In fact, all of Boeing's 370 orders were for some variant of the 737, whether it be the MAX 8, MAX 9, -800, or -900ER. Airbus sold 86 aircraft from the a320 family as well as 10 a350's and 5 a330's. Well we can surely expect to see several similar orders this year, I really hope we see airlines start to pick up more widebody aircraft to replace their aging fleets. In particular, Boeing 747-8 orders have been very quiet, with Lufthansa being the only Passenger airline to currently operate the type. Hopefully we will see some orders for those as well as the a380 and a350. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Boeing 787 orders this time around with all the recent problems surrounding the program. There are a few things that aviation fans had hoped would occur during this years show but unfortunately probably aren't going to happen. The main thing, for me at least, was the official debut of the Airbus a350. Many had hoped the new airliner would be able to fly for spectators but it looks like it will still be on the ground at the factory in Toulouse. The first test flights are expected later in the summer with an airshow debut most likely occuring at Farnborough next year or Dubai in the fall. The Bombardier CSeries probably won't be ready for the show either. Air show organizers have said that 2 Boeing 787's will be on display and perform demonstration flights this year. One will be from Qatar Airways and the other from Boeing itself. I would also expect an a380 but this has not yet been officially announced. Russia will debut its' new Su-35 fighter jet as well as the Yak 130. No matter what happens with orders and demonstration flights, this air show is looking like it will have one of the biggest turnouts in recent years. All 2,000 exhibitor spaces had sold out by the end of January and organizers expect record crowds from both trade visitors and the general public. Airlines currently registered to attend include Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France-KLM, Qatar Airways, and many others. Make sure to follow along as I report live from Le Bourget this June. You can stay updated via Facebook, Twitter, or by subscribing to receive emails.