Despite the economic crisis savaging Europe, the aviation industry appears in full health. The 50th edition of the Bourget Air show in Paris is drawing record punters and there have been announcements of new contract airliners every day.
Airbus opened affairs, signing with Lufthansa for one hundred A320 aircraft, for short and medium haul. The plane combines the new A320 neo with the current generation ceo, and is equipped with aerodynamic sharklets for greater efficiency.
Other contracts signed by Airbus include the A380 super-jumbo, whilst Boeing has tied up massive deals on the 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 737 models.
After some initial problems with overheating batteries, The Dreamliner has emerged as one of the stars of the show and Qatar Airways have already received six orders for this majestic beast.
Aikaterini Lakouri, a flight attendant with Qatar Airways described the new layout: “The 787 is our new aircraft and is very luxurious. The seats are different from the other aircraft, they’re facing from the other side and we can provide a 5-star experience on-board.”
The same applies for the pilots, who can also expect some extra comfort, as Ali Alemadi, a Senior First Officer with Qatar Airways explained: “It’s a totally new technology and different than other aircraft. It’s kind of easier to work, it’s like more computerised than other aircraft.”
British Airways had been one of the first to snap up the A380 Superjumbo, but had opted to only receive its models this year. They previewed their new wares in miserable weather, which initially threatened to halt the accustomed daily aerial performance.
Le Bourget might not conjure the same romance it once did – the magnificent men with their flying machines have been replaced by aircraft sales officials and PR experts, and nobody smashed the sound barrier this year – but the air show still attracted 2,200 exhibitors from more than 40 different countries.
Amongst the many highlights, audiences could be found swooning at the sight of an A400M soaring overhead.
After some initial problems with the aircraft’s engine certification, delivery of Airbus’ celebrated first military transport aircraft to the French Airforce is finally underway.
Equally impressive were the French aerobatic team which trailed the aircraft in order to mark its inauguration into what remains, the greatest aerial show on earth.