June 20, 2011—What has 2,100 international exhibitors, 140 different aircraft, more than 300,000 visitors and 3,000 accredited journalists from around the world?
It’s the 49th annual Paris Air Show that begins today at Le Bourget and brings together all the industry’s players worldwide to showcase the latest technological innovations. The event’s first four days, exclusively for the industry, are followed by three days for the general public.
One of the most anticipated appearances this year is the Solar Impulse, the solar-powered aircraft that is making its first public air show appearance. Pilot Andre Borschberg landed the airplane at Le Borget airport on June 14, completing the 16-hour, 5-minute flight from Brussels to Paris on solar power alone. Weather permitting, the Solar Impulse team will conduct flight demonstrations in the morning, which will be broadcast live at www.solarimpulse.com.
Another highlight will likely be Airbus, which is bringing its A380 jetliner and Airbus Corporate Jet, along with the A400M and C295 military airlifters. In addition, the new A320neo and A350 XWB will be represented with scale models and displays.
But Reuters reported that while Airbus hopes to deliver a marketing blow to rival Boeing at the air show, two of its flagship planes are grounded in Paris.
The right-hand wing-tip of a A380 superjumbo test plane scraped a building at Le Bourget airport on Sunday and was withdrawn from the air show’s traditional flying displays, Reuters reported. A second aircraft, the delayed European A400M airlifter, was also withdrawn from air display after a gearbox problem.
However, Airbus will also introduce its “concept cabin” for the airliner of 2050. It features a fuselage built of bio-membranes that can be made transparent to offer passengers a view of the night sky or of landmarks passing below. Click to see the Airbus video of the cabin.
Not to be outdone, Boeing brought its 747-8 superjumbo jet to the show, showing its distinctive shape abroad for the first time. But the plane may be remembered more for how it got there: it flew to Le Bourget on a 15 percent biofuel blend. The flight marked the world’s first commercial airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean using biologically derived fuel.
Boeing is also displaying a 737-700, 747-8 Freighter and 787 Dreamliner.
Click here to see the complete list of exhibitors and aircraft at the 49th Paris Air Show.
Andre Borschberg flies into Paris in the Solar Impulse, which is making its first public air show appearance at the Paris Air Show this week. Photo credit: Solar Impulse
Airbus’ A380 taxis on the Le Bourget runway. Photo credit: Airbus
Boeing’s 747-8 jet arrived in Paris after flying on a 15 percent biofuel blend. It became the world’s first commercial airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean using biologically derived fuel. Photo credit: Boeing