Paris Air Show: What to Expect

Alec Mollenhauer

A view of the exhibitors hall at the Paris Air Show. Aircraft manufacturers will use this year's Paris Air Show to show off their latest upgrades to their aircraft, including Boeing's 737MAX9 and 787-10 Dreamliner, and Airbus' A380plus. Photo Credits: SIAE (Paris Air Show)

As the weekend comes to a close and a new week comes upon us, the 2017 Paris Air Show begins today. The week long event happens every two years at Paris Le Bourget (LBG) airport, alternating with Farnborough every other year.

Last year, Farnborough had much less activity than the air show usually has, because the next generation of aircraft has been out for a couple of years and the majority of airlines have already placed orders for them.

While the order book is once again expected to be fairly quiet, two new aircraft variants are expected to be announced this week at Le Bourget.  

Boeing: Chicago, USA-based Boeing is expected to announce the largest variant of the 737 to be built so far, the 737 MAX 10. While exact details will not be known till this week, it is expected that Boeing’s newest 737 variant will be just under a six foot stretch of the 737 MAX 9 allowing it to carry up to 230 passengers, adding 12 seats from the 737 MAX 9.  This will allow Boeing to offer a product that is more competitive with Airbus’s A321NEO, which has gotten 1416 orders thus far compared to Boeing’s 202 orders for the 737 MAX 9. Boeing claims its 737 MAX 10 will be able to fly slightly farther than the A321NEO and burn less fuel. It is expected that Boeing will equip the 737 MAX 10 with a higher thrust variant of the CFM LEAP engine than the 737 MAX 9. The landing gear will likely be raised as well to ensure decent takeoff performance.

The 737MAX9 will be on display at the Paris Airshow, where it is expected that its design will be lengthened and officially launched as the 737MAX10. Credits: Boeing

While it is not yet known which airlines will be placing orders for the 737 MAX 10, Indonesia’s Lion Air is said to be interested in the jet in addition to its 201 orders for the smaller 737 MAX 8. European low cost carrier Ryanair is interested as well. China Aircraft Leasing Corp is expected to place an order for the new 737 variant. It is expected that the first deliveries of the 737 MAX 10 would occur in 2020.

In terms of aircraft at the Paris Airshow, Boeing will display its 787-10 and 737 MAX 9 at Le Bourget airport while Qatar Airways will bring a 777-300ER to display its new business class interior, allowing Boeing to show potential customers what is possible inside of its aircraft. On the military side, the department of defense is expected to display a P-8 Poseidon, a V-22 Osprey, an AH-64 Apache, and a CH-47 Chinook.

Boeing’s 787-10 Dreamliner taking off. The plane, which is the largest in the Dreamliner family of jets, will be displayed at the Paris Airshow. Photo Credits: Boeing

Another possible order for Boeing includes the confirmation of eight Boeing 777-300ERs for United Airlines in addition to the 14 they have ordered over the past couple of years. There is currently an order for eight 777s in Boeing’s order book from an unidentified customer, which is speculated to possibly be United.

Airbus: The big announcement this week from European plane maker Airbus is expected to be the announcement of an A380plus. While it appears that the physical size of the A380plus will not be changed from the current A380, split winglets will be added to save more fuel and make the aircraft more efficient by helping to reduce the fuel burn by 4%. (As seen in the photo below)

The A380plus features new sharklet winglets never before seen on an aircraft its size. The sharklets are said to help decrease fuel burn by up to 4%. Photo Credits: Airbus

In addition to the winglets, Airbus is increasing the maximum takeoff weight on the A380 Plus to allow the addition of 80 more seats. These factors will combine to reduce the cost per seat by 13%. Airbus will add the seats by redesigning the stairs and consolidating the crew rest compartments. The economy section of the A380plus will become 11 across in a 3-5-3 layout instead of the current 10 across in a 3-4-3 layout.  Airbus will also remove the sidewall stowage on the upper deck, allowing for the addition of ten business class seats. According to Airbus, the average number of seats on an A380 can increase from 497 to 575.

From the technical side, Airbus advertises that the A380plus will require expensive heavy maintenance checks every 6 years, which is a greater length than the current A380.

An infographic detailing the upgrades on the A380plus in comparison to the A380. Photo Credits: Airbus

It is not yet known if any airlines are interested in the A380plus, but it is likely that Emirates will be looking to replace some of its fleet of 95 A380s.

Airbus will also be displaying its largest twin jet, the A350-1000, at the Paris Airshow as well as its A321NEO.

On the military side, Airbus will be displaying an A400M, and an C295 as well as a variety of helicopters.

Outside of the big two manufacturers, Mitsubishi has brought its MRJ to Le Bourget. The MRJ has experienced extensive delays and is still in the flight testing process. It is now expected that the MRJ will enter service in 2020.

Bombardier will be displaying its CS300, which has recently entered service with Swiss International Airlines.

Layoverhub will be featuring daily coverage of events from the Paris Airshow. Check back daily for our end of the day roundups featuring the biggest news from each day.