The 49th International Paris Air Show returned to Le Bourget Airport this Monday, June 20th with a record 2,100 international exhibitors. Officially called the Salon International de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, Paris-Le Bourget, the show's main purpose is to demonstrate military and civilian aircrafts to potential buyers. This commercial air show is the oldest, biggest and most prestigious in the world and is known for making big sales and debuting cutting edge developments and technologies. This year was no different.
The biggest buyer at the show by far was AirAsia, snatching up 200 Airbus SAS A320neo planes, surpassing a contract confirmed by Indian carrier IndiGo a day earlier. The AirAsia deal, worth $18 billion at list prices, followed IndiGo's order for 180 A320 and A320neo planes.
Thanks to Air Asia and IndiGo, French Aircraft manufacturer Airbus set a record for commercial aircraft sales at any air show ever, confirming business for 730 aircrafts worth a total of $72.2 billion, Airbus officials say. The orders consist of firm purchase orders for 418 aircrafts worth $44 billion, and memoranda of understanding for 312 worth $28.2 billion, company officials say. The newly emerging Malaysian Airline also put in an order for 200 Airbus planes.
Airbus rival, Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes did less spectacularly when sales petered out Wednesday with seven Boeing 737-900ER and 33 737-800 planes to Russian airline and aviation services company UTair Aviation. All together, Boeing received commitments for 142 planes worth more than $22 billion at the show including a contract for 10 737s from Malaysian Airline System Bhd.
Canadian-based Bombardier received a total of 123 orders for its new CSeries: 61 CS100s and 62 CS300s. Lufthansa has signed for 30, Republic Airways for 40, Lease Corporation International for 20, and Braathens Aviation for 10. Three other unidentified customers account for the other 23.
It seems that the flight industry is putting its hopes on the emerging markets in Asia and the Pacific as developed markets such as the United States and Europe slow down.
Asia-Pacific international travel may expand 7.6 percent a year through 2014, compared with growth rates of about 5 percent in North America and Europe, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Along with record breaking sales, this year the show also introduced the Solar Impulse, a new solar aircraft, as well as the Alternitive Aviation Fuels village for the industries ever-expanding work with biofuels and sustainable travel solutions.
Starting today, June 24th, the public will have a chance to get up-close and personal with some of the most impressive machines in the world. The expected 200,000 guests will be able to view flight demonstrations form military and civilian aircrafts, and visit Paris' air and space museum. Check out a detailed map of the aircraft displays and visit http://www.paris-air-show.com/en for more information about the show.