In Case You Missed It: Highlights from the Paris Air Show 2017

Held every two years at Paris-Le Bourget Airport, The Paris Air Show is THE show for aviation and space companies. In its 52nd year, this year’s event, which took place this week (June 19 - 25) drove much enthusiasm for aerospace innovation to come. From an orders race between Boeing and Airbus to flying cars, it was full of opportunity.

Boeing and Airbus Go Head to Head
There is no doubt that the commercial aircraft market is strong. In a battle for aircraft orders at the Show, Boeing came out ahead of Airbus. They saw 571 total aircraft orders including conversions (463 net new orders), while Airbus earned 326 commitments totaling $39.7 billion. Bombardier, who specializes in aircraft with under 150 seats, also secured at least 60 commitments and $2 billion at the show. Much of Boeing’s success stems from its launch of the 737 MAX 10. It was a big year for the company, as it also announced its July 1 launch of the new Boeing Global Services division- expected to generate $50 billion annually within 5-10 years - which will focus on supply chain, engineering, modifications and MRO, digital software, and training/professional services.

F-35 Fighter Jet Finally Makes Demo Flight
Spurring questions of whether or not pilots are needed, the F-35 is sophisticated, automated, and connected. But that sophistication has come at a cost. Largely scrutinized for its missed deadlines and blown budgets, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter showed off its takeoff, climbing, and tight turn capabilities in a six-minute demonstration at The Paris Air Show. Only time will tell if the display squashed the mountains of doubt.

Other Cool Tech Showed Up Too
Historically the center stage for the latest innovation in A&D, The Paris Air Show didn’t disappoint this year. A few of the highlights were:

  • Racer” - Airbus’s new rotorcraft design that is part of the Clean Sky 2 European research program. It cruises at 250 mph, has an “eco mode” for fuel efficiency, deafening noise not included.
  • Pegasus” - From France-based Vaylon, this flying car made the voyage from Paris to Trafalgar Square using a combination of driving and paragliding. Bonus points for not only being for private owners, but also first responders. (Perhaps we’ll see similar tech in this year’s EMERGE program!)
  • Boom Supersonic - Creating the next Concorde, Boom’s XB-1 will fly 2.6 times faster than average commercial aircraft at 1450 mph carrying 55 passengers. Your next flight to London could take half the time.

An Unexpected Player in Europe: GE
In a series of several European aviation company purchases accounting for more than $10 billion over the past ten years, GE now holds a strong footprint on the continent. GE’s aviation capabilities include: jet engine manufacturing, airplane electronics, plane-leasing services, turboprop manufacturing, 3-D printing technology, and acquired last week, repair robotics technology. Most of these businesses stem from European acquisitions.

This year’s Paris Air Show clearly provided a lot of innovation to talk about. We’ll stay on the lookout for how this technology impacts the market in the short-term, how technology from other markets will digitize aviation, and what emerging technology isn’t even on the radar of aviation companies yet. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to stay up to date.

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