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Paris Airshow focuses on Boeing 737, Airbus A320 families

Regular presence at Le Bourget leads to new business for MAA exhibitors.

With 2,300 exhibitors, the Le Bourget Paris Airshow is by some way the world’s biggest aerospace trade show. And despite predictions of lower new aircraft orders than previous shows, the 2017 Paris Airshow was as busy and fruitful for MAA exhibitors as ever, while Boeing and Airbus announced significant new sales, particularly for the B737 and A320 aircraft families.

Feedback from the front line on the MAA stand

Eight companies exhibited with the MAA as part of the UK pavilion. As usual, after a steady start on Monday, the show sprung to life for many exhibitors on Tuesday and Wednesday with Thursday morning keeping up the pace.

Feedback from MAA exhibitors makes interesting reading:

  • two years ago we had a really, really good show; this year is even better
  • we were already busy with pre-planned meetings, but we have had potential customers walking onto the stand unscheduled “from dawn till dusk”
  • our meetings have generally been with French customers and potential customers, many from Safran Group companies
  • it always works out well for us to be seen to be exhibiting at Le Bourget; for French customers it’s a hurdle you have to cross or they don’t take you seriously – if you can’t put in a little effort to exhibit at their show, how can they have confidence in you?
  • regularly exhibiting at an airshow like Farnborough or Le Bourget allows conversations to continue and develop over time, and face-to-face is essential; we recently won a major order from a continental European company for Lockheed F35 “Lightning” parts, single source, based on discussions that started when we were first on the MAA stand several years ago
  • we’re finding busy customers asking to meet us in Paris in the evening and arriving at our hotel at night to continue negotiations
  • the big aircraft programmes that are the talk of Le Bourget are the A320neo and the CFM LEAP engine, especially the coming volume ramp-up; it’s now Airbus and Safran policy to have second sources for critical parts to protect the programmes, which is a great opportunity for Midlands companies; work on other programmes like CFM56 is being decanted to new lower tier suppliers, that’s the work we are looking for
  • you have to be here to get the opportunities; we haven’t had a huge number of meetings this year but in our experience regular meetings with potential customers at Le Bourget over the years often turn into new business
  • networking on the MAA stand and within the UK pavilion itself has opened up a number of opportunities for us
  • we’ve had a Chinese company visiting us on the stand every day as our negotiations have advanced over the course of the week
  • we are promoting our growing capability to discuss and improve customer designs and drawings rather than just accept what we’re given; that’s a real bonus when it comes to doing new business because we can add value
  • we find we’re meeting with engineers, not so much procurement, and with the right team here from our home base we can advance negotiations a long way right here at the show rather than having to wait to follow up afterwards
  • for us, Farnborough is existing business, Paris is new business
  • a great advantage to exhibiting with the MAA is the networking opportunity both on the stand and in the UK pavilion, never mind the wider show!


Exhibitors getting ready for a busy day on the MAA stand

New aircraft and engine orders, new aircraft

Among the highlights of the show as a whole the MAA team picked up:

New orders

New aircraft order announcements were high despite pre-show forecasts, and they were almost exclusively for B737/A320 family aircraft.

  • The total of Boeing orders and commitments came to 571 aircraft, worth some $74.8bn. The newly launched B737 MAX 10 accounted for 361 orders from 16 customers. However 214 of these were conversions from other MAX or 737 models, leaving 147 new/incremental orders or commitments. 56 of these were the larger widebody/twin-aisle 787/777 aircraft.
  • Airbus announced $39.7 billion worth of new business, with commitments for a total of 326 aircraft, including firm orders for 144 aircraft worth $18.5 billion and MoUs for 182 aircraft worth $21.2 billion. A320 family aircraft sales and commitments accounted for 306 of the aircraft worth $33.8 billion. In the widebody/twin aisle segment, Airbus won business for 20 aircraft worth $5.9 billion.
  • GE Aviation announced over $31 billion in orders, GE Aviation and its joint ventures receiving orders for 1,700 engines. Orders for the CFM International joint venture accounted for $27.3 billion of these.
  • The dearth of new orders for large commercial aircraft translated into a quieter Paris for Rolls-Royce. One highlight was an order from Ethiopian Airlines to provide Trent XWB engines for ten new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, valued at $1.5 billion.

New and modified aircraft announced

New aircraft models were also being announced and discussed at the show:

  • Boeing announced the latest version of the Boeing 737 will now be developed, the stretched Max 10 (see above on orders).
  • Airbus announced a study into modifying the A380 to improve its fuel efficiency; Emirates wants assurances from Airbus on future of the programme before committing to new orders; Boeing predicted an end to jumbo jet era and will drop big aircraft as category from its future market forecasts.
  • Boeing steadily released ideas for its proposed new midsized aircraft (in the niche formerly occupied by the 757 and 767): up to 270 passengers for trips of up to 5,200 miles (it’s the range the airlines want), new composite fuselage.
  • CFM isn’t ruling out its own new engine with a geared fan for the new Boeing (as Rolls-Royce is developing with its UltraFan concept)

Finally . . .

Le Bourget was not just a matter of new aircraft, new orders, but also big production ramp-ups. CFM announced it was adding 800 extra CFM56 and LEAP engines to its production plans for the 2018-2020 period driven by increased orders of Airbus, Boeing and Comac aircraft.


Columbia meets minister

Neil Holmes, MD Columbia, meets Business Minister Richard Harrington MP

 Business meetings

Spincraft holding business meetings on the stand


Visitors to the MAA stand

Visitors meeting MAA members on the stand

mj sections meets minister

Steve Cresswell, Commercial Manager MJ Sections, meets Trade Minister Mark Garnier MP


The MAA are now preparing for the Farnborough Airshow 2018 - if you are interested in being part of the MAA stand contact Anne Esterson, MAA Operations Manager, for more information.