PARIS – The 2017 Paris Air Show is ground zero for the aerospace industry, a spectacle whose amazing aircraft demonstration flights are eclipsed by the billions of dollars in new deals announced and the behind-the-scenes negotiations that lead to future projects.
This year was no different. Boeing and Airbus – global rivals that both have a major presence in Alabama – announced massive aircraft orders. Boeing, in particular, used the air show as a platform to announce more than $30 billion in new orders.
In addition, there are plenty of Alabama connections on display at the industry trade event, reflecting the state’s growing stature in the global aerospace business.
Airbus, for instance, showed off its A321neo aircraft, a model that will be added to the production lineup at its Mobile manufacturing center. And Raytheon’s exhibition hall displayed SM-3 and SM-6 missiles, which are produced in Huntsville.
The fuel-efficient LEAP engine, produced by a partnership that includes GE Aviation, was spotted on Boeing and Airbus aircraft. A 3-D printed fuel nozzle made by GE Aviation in Auburn is an important feature of the engine.
In addition, global aerospace and defense company, Leonardo, displayed its T-100 trainer jet that will be built in Tuskegee if the company wins a U.S Air Force competition for a next-generation trainer.
During the Paris Air Show’s three-day trade show phase, an estimated 150,000 visitors were expected.
New French president Emmanuel Macron was among them. He visited the European Space Agency Center, where he spoke with astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who has just spent nearly 200 days at the International Space Station.
As always, the demonstration flights wowed the crowds at Le Bourget.
Highlights included flights by the new U.S. F35 fighter jet, the Boeing 737 MAX 9, and Airbus A350-100S, A400M and A380 aircraft.