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Wed 6 Jun 2007 10:00 AM

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Vive la France

A look at the biggest attractions, main conferences and forthcoming highlights of the International Paris Air Show.

When André Granet and Robert Esnault-Pelterie launched the International Paris Air Show in 1909, a legacy spanning almost a century was born. For the French dignitaries who attended, the event was merely a showcase for the industry's latest balloon and aircraft technology. Some 98 years on, it is recognised as the world's longest established aerospace show.

The latest carrier planes and stars of aviation will be on display.

Indeed, attendance figures for 2005 show that 223,000 visitors and 1926 exhibitors turned up to the bi-annual event. This year, organiser Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales (Gifas) expects to attract similar numbers, with 563 exhibitors and 1200 small-to-medium-sized businesses registered by March.

"All exhibition space has already been booked by exhibitors from 37 countries," says Louis Le Portz, Commissaire Général of the show. "We note the significant presence of countries with a strong aeronautical tradition, such as France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the US, as well as increased participation from emerging aeronautical markets such as India, Turkey and the UAE. The presence of the European space industry and numerous French and European SMEs confirms that the Paris Air Show remains the world's premier aerospace event, attracting international interest and offering outstanding business potential."

Among the visitors, several manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus will make an appearance during the event, which is held at the Paris Le Bourget Exhibition Centre from June 18-24.

Most aspects of the aerospace industry will be represented, including:

• Aircraft construction and assembly

• Space, spacecraft and satellite communications

• Aircraft engines, aerospace power-plants and related equipment

• Weapon systems

• Pilot and navaids

• Airborne equipment and systems

• Cabin interiors

• Subcontracting, mechanical items and metal working

• Composite materials and surface treatment

• Airport equipment and services.

A handful of Middle East companies have already confirmed attendance, such as aviation services provider Dubai Aerospace Enterprise and maintenance, repair and overhaul company Gamco. Hadid International Aviation Services, World Airline Services and Dubai International Airport are also making an appearance. Meanwhile, several international companies are expected to turn up, including Rolls Royce, UTC and Goodrich. While huge numbers are forecast, the organisers are keen to attract as many, if not more, people than the 2005 show. To that end, Gifas has joined forces with the Chamber of Commerce, Innovation Relay Centres and Regional Development Agency to launch the Business Technology Forum for B2Bs at this year's event.

Some 550 companies and 30 contractors will take part in the meeting, which is focusing on recent industry changes. Among the topics for discussion will be aircraft manufacturers that are outsourcing production activities after restructuring their businesses. In many cases, subcontractors and specialist businesses are then drafted in by the aircraft manufacturers and their suppliers to provide support.

"At a time when large manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing are or will be subcontracting most of their production, it is important for subcontractors at all levels of the supply chain to be able to promote their expertise," says Le Portz.

The forum takes place from 10am and 6pm between 19-21 June and is expected to attract several leading companies, including Airbus, EADS, Dassault Aviation, Eurocopter and Finmeccanica. Networking may be the main objective for most trade visitors but businessmen with time on their hands can see a range of aircraft at this year's event.

The latest carrier planes and "stars of civil aviation" will be on display, according to Le Portz. Several Airbus models such as the A380 and Bombardier will be showcased, as well as Embraer's regional model and several aircraft from the Ukraine and Russia.

Representatives from business aviation will promote their latest aircraft, with Dassault presenting its Falcon 7X. Other chartered service providers scheduled to attend include Gulfstream, Raytheon, Piaggio and Pilatus. Aside from chartered jets and commercial planes, military aircraft will also be on display.


Some of the expected highlights include the Rafale, F-18 and F-16, and MiG fighters, while the world's leading helicopter manufacturers will also be present, such as Eurocopter and AgustaWestland. Representatives from the space sector are keen to showcase the industry's latest technology, with an ESA delegation and Russian officials among the trade visitors.

The Paris Air Show remains the world’s premier aerospace event, attracting international interest.

Checking out the competition and promoting their own services are the main objectives for most delegates. But when they aren't rubbing shoulders with other traders, exhibitors can discover how far the industry has come by visiting the Air and Space Museum.

The exhibition covers 18,000m
2

and offers an insight into two centuries of aerospace conquests, from the first balloon flights to the pioneering days of aviation. Life size replicas of the Ariane 1 and 5 launchers are some of the expected highlights, while two Concorde jets (including the first built, 001 prototype) will also be displayed.

Aside from the aircraft, the Concorde Hall will also play host to the Aerospace Trades, Professions and Training forum. Attendees interested in historical aircraft can visit a 1500m
2

marquee, with several Second World War aircraft to see. Among the fighter planes, traders can view the Yak 3, B26, Spitfire and Dewoitine D520.

Elsewhere, attendees can check out the Sovouz re-entry capsule, a cutaway section of the Boeing 747 and the first exhibition on Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Durmont as part of France's ‘Year of Brazil'.

For those who want to see the planes in action, a flying display will be held every day from 12pm to 5pm. More than 60 unconfirmed aircraft will take part, with crowds able to watch all the action on giant screens.

2005 – Key figures

The 46th International Paris Air Show (13-19 June 2005) brought together:

• 1926 exhibitors from 42 countries

• 238 aircraft

• 223,000 trade visitors from 149 countries

• 480,000 general public visitors

• 3422 journalists

• 154 official delegations from 66 countries on a site with more than 128,000m
2

of covered floor space (halls, village, business chalets and external buildings) and 192,000m
2

of static displays

Looking back

More than 100 years have passed since the International Paris Air Show was launched in the French capital. With several highlights, Aviation Business provides a breakdown of some key dates.

1908:

An aircraft exhibition, organised as part of the second Paris Automobile Show, is held at the Grand-Palais near the Champs-Élysées.

1909:

The first exhibition devoted entirely to aircraft takes place at the Grand-Palais. The annual exhibition is put on hold during the First World War before relaunching in 1924

1924:

The ninth Paris Air Show is the first to feature foreign exhibitors comprising mostly British and German manufacturers. From this year on, the show is held bi-annually but later withdrawn during the Second World War.

1927:

Charles Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget airport on the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris.

1946:

The first flying displays take place during the 17th show at Orly airport.

1951:

Le Bourget airport becomes the venue for the International Paris Air Show.

1969:

The show becomes more international with 14 countries represented. Concorde and the Boeing 747 are some of the aircraft unveiled.

1973:

The European Airbus is unveiled.

1983:

The US shuttle Enterprise flies into the show while attached to a Boeing 747 transporter.

1989:

USSR displays Antonov 225, the largest aircraft in the world, with the Russian space shuttle Buran mounted to the top.

1991:

Aircraft and weapons involved in the Gulf War - including A10 tank killer, Jaguar aircraft, and the Patriot missile - are the main attractions. Meanwhile, an American A117 stealth bomber is displayed for the first time.

1993:

Airbus 340 prototype beats the world distance record by flying around the world in 24 hours. The flight starts and ends at Le Bourget.

1995:

A record 41 countries are represented at the show. Several aircraft, including the American B2 bomber, Boeing 777 airliner and X31 are on display for the first time.

1997:

The show reports record attendance figures, with 1860 exhibitors from 46 countries turning up to see the 230 aircrafts on display.

1999:

Exhibitor numbers rise to 1895, with people from 41 nations attending. Some 204 aircraft are displayed, including the Proteus, Beriev 200 and Antonov 70.

2003:

The International Paris Air Show celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.

2005:

The Airbus A380 is unveiled at the 46th International Paris Air Show. The event attracts huge numbers, with more than 500,000 trade and public visitors attending across seven days.

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