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AVIORADAR - Croatian aviation website

[AVIORADAR VISITED] 53rd International Air Show Paris

Written by: Bruno Habus.


This year's edition of the world's largest aviation fair - SIAE 2019 has ended. The fair was marked with more visitors than ever, awakening of the Boeing 737 program, and with a significant superiority of Airbus' new aircraft orders. Some well known planes have made a debut either under new names, or under the "cap" of the new owner, and the flying legends have received their epilogue. Famous names, such as the A350 or A220, were presented in their full glory, and the retired legends, such as Concorde or Boeing 747-100, were a special delight for all the visitors.

The private jet market has grown in the past years, which was evident by the number of exhibitors at the fair, as well as the number of aircraft presented.

The statistics show the fact that the "Air Circus" in Paris, Le Bourget, is the largest in the world: 2.453 exhibitors, of which 150 start-ups. 140 aircraft were exhibited on the total exhibition area of 125.000 m2. Financial analysis of all the business deals made during the fair is even more fascinating. The estimated worth is 140 bn. American dollars.

This year, the fair was visited by 316.470 visitors who made 500.000 entries at the fair. Out of that number, 139.840 were airline professionals, while the other 176.630 were general public. SIAE was attended by more than 2.700 media representatives from as many as 87 countries.

It was a real aviation treat for all the "avgeeks". Let's start from the beginning. AvioRadar had the opportunity to visit exhibition spaces of some aircraft manufacturers. The reports and analyzes are summarized in the text below. 



Airbus has again proved itself to be the best player on the domestic field. Airbus A321XLR, that was only just introduced, had the highest number of orders. Also, the new A330neo and A220 versions were not far behind. However, despite the success, there were no orders of the Airbus A350. 

The absolute winner was the Airbus A321XLR. The contracts were made for 218 aircraft, through orders and memorandums of understanding and options. Customers are American Airlines, Flynas, Jet Blue, Indigo Partners, ALC, Middle East Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, IAG and Qantas. The American carriers (American Airlines, Jet Blue and Delta AirLines) may have been the biggest surprise. They basically turned their backs on Boeing with their large orders - AA has ordered 50 A321XLRs, Delta has increased its A220 order for an additional 5 aircraft, and Jet Blue has ordered 13 A321XLR.

Among others, there were significant orders placed for the A220, the A320neo family, and the A330neo. Cebu Pacific has ordered 16 A330-900, Saudi Arabian Airlines 100 A320neo family aircraft with additional 35 options, and Virgin Atlantic has closed the order for 14 A330-900. Air Lease Corporation has signed a contract for 100 new aircraft, of which 50 A220-300, 27 A321XLR and 23 A321neo. Air China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Purchasing for 11 A321neo and additional 14 through lease.

Accipter Holding signed an order of 20 A320neo while Indigo Partners, with an order of 32 A321 XLRs, made a contract for another 18 A320neo aircraft. JetBlue joins Delta as the second American Airbus A220 operator, with an order of 10 A220-300. Flynas, along with the A321XLR, took additional 10 A320neo, while Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) signed a memorandum of understanding for 20 A220 aircraft. 


AirAsia has changed its 253 A320neo order to the A321neo, and took over its first A330-900 (neo) at LeBourget.



In total, these are the numbers of orders for Airbus (options included as well as purchases agreed through Memorandum of Understanding):

A321XLR - 218 

A330-900 - 30 

A220 (-300 and -100) - 105 

A320neo - 83 

A321neo - 301 (with AirAsia order change from A320neo to A321neo) 

Total: 737 aircraft


In addition to large number of orders, Airbus offered a rich showroom, featuring the A330 in the military version, and the Eurocopters. In the flying part of the show, Airbus demonstrated  low-altitude flyover of the A350-1000 and A330-900.




Boeing appeared "shy" at this year's Paris fair, due to the crisis in the 737 program, and the delay of the 777X program. They showcased only 4 aircraft: 737-800F, P-8 Poseidon, KC-46A Pegasus and 787-9 Dreamliner of Air Tahiti Nui. In cooperation with the US Army, 2 helicopters were shown: AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook, the military F-15 aircraft and the real-size T-X model. A new concept of Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) was introduced. As for the orders, Boeing has added 334 aircraft to their order book.



GECAS has ordered 10 737-800 in the freighter version (BCF) with the option of an additional 15, Korean Air ordered 30 787-9 and 787-10 aircraft, while Air Lease Corporation (ALC) ordered 5 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. ASL Aviation Holding ordered 10 737-800F (BCF) with an option of 10 more, and Qatar Airways ordered 5 777F freighters. Turkmenistan Airlines ordered 1 777-200LR and China Airlines signed contracts for 6 freight versions of 777. The biggest surprise at Boeing's order is the IAG (International Airlines Group) which ordered as many as 200 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 10. This number is surprising considering the fact that all 737 MAX aircraft are still grounded since the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash, and not a single order was placed ever since. It is also surprising that IAG, in addition to Boeing, ordered aircraft of similar characteristics from Airbus - it remains to be seen which aircraft will be directed to their companies. IAG also ordered 18 777-9 (777X) aircraft for British Airways.



Mitsubishi has presented a well-known plane, under a new name. Previously known as Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), today it is named SpeceJet. Unfortunately, the entire program of Mitsubishi's SpeceJet is obviously strictly confidential, because only a selected audience had the opportunity to enter the aircraft that was secured by the armed police forces.

The only information publicly disclosed by Mitsubishi was that it was negotiating with an "unnamed airline from the United States". To find out the mystery about this Japanese aircraft, we will have to wait for SpeceJet's entry into the regular operations in 2023. 



Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways presented itself at SIAE bringing the star of its fleet, the Airbus A350-1000. The audience had the opportunity to walk through the luxury cabin of a brand new aircraft (that operated its first flight on March 6, 2019).

Cabin crew and pilots have shown all the cabin features, especially the famous Q Suite, Qatar's product for business class passengers. Visitors had the opportunity to see business class meals, converting seats into beds, and joining of multiple private divisions.



In addition, Qatar has also introduced its business jet, Gulfstream G500s. The Paris Air Show was one of the rare occasions when Qatar introduced its exclusive product - the Qatar Executive.


DeHavilland Aircraft of Canada Limited

DeHavilland Aircraft of Canada (again) debuted at SIAE, this time with the Q400, a program recently purchased from the Bombardier. 



The 90-seat Q400 for Indian SpiceJet was delivered to Le Bourget, which was the opportunity to represent the Q400 platform's diversity for every purpose - from the usual 76-seat configuration to the 90-seat configuration. Which is, to our surprise, just as comfortable as the standard configuration (like the one in Croatia Airlines).

Read more about the plane, and the Q400 sale from Bombardier to DeHavilland here: Back to the Future: the De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400



Pilatus unveiled its Pilatus PC24 jet, the first jet aircraft that can land on asphalt, grass and ground surfaces.

While the PC 24 retains its performances, it is also a luxury jet that can perform medevac flights, which is why it was named SVJ - Super Versatile Jet.



Pilatus test pilot explained to us that the aircraft, even though the most advanced in its class, has kept design simplicity for easy exploitation and maintenance. This is one of the few aircraft where passengers can access their luggage in the cargo space. Unlike their competitors, pilatus cargo has significantly larger door that can be used to board the patients on stretchers for  medevac flights.

In addition to PC24, Pilatus has also introduced PC12NG and PC21. During the Paris fair it was officially announced that the production of the legendary PC6 was terminated.


Russian Helicopters

The 3 members of AvioRadara team were personally invited to the exhibition space of Russian Helicopters, where a new helicopter model was represented: the Ansat. New is maybe not the best word to describe this helicopter, even though this is a new helicopter on the market. However, it's been developing since the 90's, and most of the parts have been taken over from the older helicopter models.



Ansat was presented in two configurations - VIP and medevac. Features and advantages of VIP helicopters have been presented in comparison to private aircraft, as well as the special features of this helicopter in the medevac configuration. The medevac version was put in focus because a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Russian Helicopters and the Austrian company that will provide the helicopter with medical equipment. 


Before we finish, we bring you photos of the permanent exhibition at the Aviation Museum in Le Bourget, Concorde and Boeing 747-100. Concorde is particularly interesting because the museum has 2 examples - the first Concorde ever produced, the demonstrator, and the Air France's F-BTSD. This is a special treat for all the fans and definitely an extra motiv to come and visit the Paris Air Show. Additionally, for the rest of the year when there is no fair, this museum showcases dozens of aircraft, for example the Airbus A380, the Dassult Mercure and the Boeing 707.



The Parisian SIAE is a "must see" event in the world of aviation, and it has once again proved to be the world's largest. It is a place where contracts and purchases worth millionsoć of dollars are made, but also a place of innovation and aviation news. Le Bourget is the place where every aviation enthusiast will find their "happy place under the sun".



Foto © AvioRadar (BH & KM, Paris 6/19)