Paris Air Show Promises to be Biggest Ever, and Heralds a Return of the U.S. Military

By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

The Paris Air Show is the world’s largest aerospace trade show, and organizers say that the 2015 event will host 2,260 exhibitors from 47 countries, surpassing the record 2,215 exhibitors hosted in 2013.

One of the highlights of the 2015 exhibition will be the return of the U.S. military, which skipped the 2013 Paris show due to sequestration-related budgetary issues.  A large static display of several U.S. military aircraft and rotorcraft is planned for the 2015 show, including a possible last hurrah at Paris for the A-10 close air support aircraft, which the U.S. Air Force has been trying to retire against the wishes of Congress.  One notable absence will be the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is not scheduled to make the trip to Paris.  None of the U.S. military aircraft are slated to perform in the show’s daily flying display.

French manufacturer Dassault will have a large presence on its home turf.  The company plans to display a trio of Falcon business jets (the 2000LXS, the 900LX, and the 7X), as well as two variants of its Rafale fighter aircraft, which is fresh off recent sales successes in Egypt, Qatar, and (potentially) India.

The 2015 show will also generate a lot of news on the commercial side of the industry.  As usual, this news will be dominated by Airbus and Boeing.  Still, with 2015 shaping up to be a somewhat subdued year for commercial airliner orders, order activity at this year’s show could be down a bit from the level seen at the 2013 Paris show or even the 2014 Farnborough show.

Nevertheless, a significant number of orders and other commitments for new aircraft can be expected to be announced this year at Paris.  New aircraft launches, however, will be scarce or even nonexistent, unlike the 2013 Paris show which saw the launch of both the Boeing 787-10 and the Embraer E2 jetliner family.

One slim possibility for a new aircraft launch would be an Airbus launch of the long-speculated A380neo.  Airbus officials have been downplaying the possibility of a Paris launch and, unless an elaborate bluff is going on, an update on the program can be expected at Paris but probably not a formal program launch.

Meanwhile, closely watched at the show will be the sales battle between the re-engined Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX narrowbodies.  Also of considerable interest will be whether Boeing garners any orders for its current-production 777 models such as the 777-300ER or the 777F freighter.  Boeing needs new orders for these 777 Classic variants in order to maintain a smooth production transition to the 777X.

Bombardier has had a bit of a turbulent year so far in 2015, and the Paris show will provide an opportunity for the Canadian manufacturer to show the world that all is well.  Bombardier is displaying both CSeries models, the CS100 and the CS300, at the show, along with a CRJ1000 regional jet and a Q400 turboprop.  Expect a major update on progress in the CSeries development program, including information on the ongoing flight test campaign.

Much like Boeing’s situation with the 777, Embraer needs new orders for its original E-Jets models in order to smooth out the transition to the second-generation E2 series.  And the Brazilian company may also pick up orders for the E2 family itself, either from new customers or by firming up some of the large number of preliminary commitments already in hand for this new aircraft series.

New aircraft orders get all the hype, but also important are supplier contracts and deals for support services and product life-cycle management.  A number of these can be expected to be announced at Paris.

As always, Forecast International will be at the Paris Air Show.  Visit us at Hall 3, Stand C-146, and see what our market intelligence services can do for you.  Be sure to ask us about our innovative and interactive Platinum 2.0 Forecast System®, which is the only source that provides 10 years of historical data and 15-year forecasts.  Click the image below for a video of our Civil Aircraft Forecast – one of 26 modules available.

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