Donc, la semaine prochaine je suis de retour au Bourget pour le plus grand salon aéronautique du monde…
Oh sorry, I was just getting in the right language mind-set for another week in France at next week’s Paris Air Show, the world’s oldest and largest trade and visitor air show. And it is shaping up to be another exciting year for the aerospace sector, with many expected announcements, developments in emerging industries like drones and an expected return to buying from a few of the biggest defence buyers.
The show itself draws nearly 140,000 professionals, enthusiasts, aviation geeks (where I fit in), and youth, all sharing their interest in aerospace. The mixed crowd means the flight displays are a balance of commercial airliners, general aviation, fighter jets, transporters, aerobatics and more.
The show’s mainstays can be broadly split into defence, commercial and space, each with their own sector narratives.
In defence, I’m looking forward to hearing how the sector is coming back after a few years of budget cuts, driven principally by the US government and the end of sequestration. I will also watch out for interest in the lower-cost fighters that often get overshadowed in the headlines by the F-35s and Eurofighter Typhoons of the world.
In commercial, I will be looking at aircraft manufacturers (skipping over the numbers game played by the kingpins Airbus and Boeing). The Bombardier C-series is set to shake up the scene a little despite the CEO suggesting this week that Paris is not that important to the company. Dassault will also feature its new business jet, the Falcon 8x. I wouldn’t be surprised if visitors ran into representatives from emerging Chinese manufacturers, COMAC and others, who might make a cautious appearance this year, given they are expected to make waves within the next five-ten years. Also in commercial aviation I am hoping there is some discussion on drones, including drone safety and regulation. I don’t hope to see one flying around outside though; it’s best to keep them far away from people planes.
But of all my hopes and expectations, the biggest one of all is that everyone at the show gets a chance to just look up and marvel at large hunks of metal defy gravity, be it the A380 at 570,000kgs (1,250,000lbs) or the stomach churning moves of the world’s best aerobatic pilots. Even as a pilot, I am in awe at these machines, big and small.
There is a lot of new stuff to look out for in Paris this year. But the basics of the show are the same: lots of people, lots of exhibitors, and the occasional thunderstorm. ‘Plus ça change…”.
Edelman will be supporting a number of clients on their media and social media programmes at the show. Get in touch if you would like more information about the work we do in the aerospace & defence sector.