Odds and Ends of the Paris Air Show, Day 1
The Air Show began with heavy downpour that delayed traffic and buses, but fortunately not us since we didn’t stay in the City—but rather just 5km up the road. Nonetheless, we got soaked. Yet the rains couldn’t dampen the spirit of either Boeing or Airbus—or the wiseacre at the Show who played the theme song from the old movie, “Singin’ in the Rain” during one of the periodic cloud bursts.
For Boeing, rain notwithstanding, Monday was a very good day for the company. It received 17 orders for the slow-selling 747-8 (15 from one airline), customers unidentified. Boeing also announced orders for the other 7-Series airplanes except the 767. The various order announcements may be found on the Boeing website.
Contrast this to the Paris Air Show in 2009 (Paris runs in odd years, Farnborough in even years). On the Monday and Tuesday, officials vowed the 787 would have its first flight by the end of June. On
Tuesday evening, these officials were called back to Seattle to deal with the fact the test pilots would not fly the airplane because the wing-to-body join was not up to snuff. A few days after the air show ended, the company called off the first flight, to great embarrassment. It was six months before the airplane flew.
At this air show, Boeing has one 787, two 747s, a 737 with the Sky Interior inspired by the 787 and a 777-200LR. This represents the technology The Boeing Co. is known for and the achievements that can be had.
Boeing started the air show with a bang (figuratively). The remaining days should be good as well.
If Boeing started the show with a figurative bang, Airbus did literally. The big A380 scraped a wingtip on a building after airport controllers sent them down what turned out to be an incorrect taxiway. The A380 was beached for the first day and probably a few more. This came on the heels of the A400M scrubbing its aerobatics because another test plane had an engine problem. The best aerial display (to us, anyway) was the flight demonstration of the Breitling L-1049 Constellation.
But Airbus began with 100 orders for its A320neo from GECAS and Air Lease Corp., putting COO John Leahy well on the way toward the 600 orders for the airplane that was his goal by the end of the air show. We think it possible he’ll be much closer to 700.
The other manufacturer that has been in the focus is Bombardier. Following a long draught in orders, BBD racked up two in the week before the air show and a third Monday. Two of the three are Unidentified, but now BBD has 113 firm orders and almost as many options. BBD also said today’s customer will be the launch operator.
Rain, rain go away—a rail strike is coming
Buzz among journalists today is that a one-day rail strike is planned for tomorrow. Traffic to and from Le Bourget is bad enough on a good day. Rain makes it worse and a rail strike will paralyze the roads. Except for us. Taxis get to use dedicated bus lanes and we should be at the air show tomorrow in 10 minutes, strike or no strike. The US should take a cue on the dedicate bus lanes. But in typically Washington/Puget Sound fashion, nobody can make a decision let alone one in a timely fashion without some nitwit launching an initiative to reverse the decision.
AirInsight has been doing a running commentary on Monday’s air show events.