Four years after the last edition, France once again hosted the Paris Airshow at le Bourget for the aviation industry in June 2023, in a promising atmosphere with massive orders and aerial and technological displays aimed at reducing the impact of aviation on the climate.
French President Emmanuel Macron attended the opening of the 54th edition of the International Exhibition of Aeronautics and Space Industries, the largest of its kind in the world, where he met with some of the 1,130 French companies participating in the event, which saw the participation of 2,500 exhibitors from 46 countries.
The president witnessed the first aerial displays as helicopters and Rafale combat aircraft, and even the Airbus A321 XLR, the long-range version of the best-selling model, performed stunning displays in the cloudy skies.
The Paris Airshow, held every two years, was presented as a “recovery exhibition” following the pandemic, which depleted the finances of airlines and caused prolonged disruptions in supply chains, leading to the cancellation of the 2021 edition.
Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Group and President of the French Aerospace Industries Association, which organizes the exhibition, said this edition represents “a return to the enthusiasm generated by the exhibition.”
The exhibition was attended by more than 400,000 visitors during its days from June 19 to 25 at Le Bourget Airport, north of Paris, with the first four days dedicated to industry professionals.
While global air traffic is returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, companies are seeking to renew their fleets with more efficient aircraft that consume less fuel and emit fewer carbon dioxide emissions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
While aircraft manufacturers have filled their order books for the coming years, airlines want to keep up with their growth expectations as international air traffic is expected to double by then.
The exhibition, spanning an area of 125,000 square meters, showcased 158 commercial aircraft, drones, and helicopters ranging from large commercial aircraft to electric aircraft models or “air taxis,” as well as the American F-35 fighters and the US Air Force supersonic strategic bomber.
Billions of dollars in purchase orders as aviation recovers
The first edition of the Paris Air Show after a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed purchase orders for commercial aircraft worth billions of dollars, providing some support to suppliers as air travel regains its strength after the pandemic.
The industry returned to the Paris Air Show with high expectations for commercial orders and low expectations for supply chains, but it presented a more balanced picture on both fronts.
Announced orders approached record levels, with deals worth a total of $150 billion signed during the event.
The history of the Paris Airshow dates back to 1909 when the first edition was held at the Grand Palace in Paris. Since 1951, the exhibition has been held at Le Bourget in one of the suburbs of Paris, featuring displays of major known aircraft models such as the Boeing 747, Mirage 2000, and the Airbus A380, which was first showcased in 2005.
In 2011, the exhibition featured the first solar-powered aircraft. In 2013, the Paris Airshow was the third global event to receive the “Environmentally Friendly” ISO certification, and in 2015, it achieved its highest attendance record.
The exhibition also includes an aerospace museum that tells the history of aviation, providing a good opportunity to revisit the past and learn about the first aircraft that delighted the world, carrying with them the passion of humanity and its dreams of development and discovery.
Al Alawi leads the Ministry of Defence delegation to Le Bourget
A delegation from the UAE’s Ministry of Defence, led by His Excellency Major General Staff Pilot Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al Alawi, Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence, and several senior officers, visited the Paris Airshow.
The global event was also attended by officials and diplomats from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates and its military attaché in Paris.
During his multiple tours, His Excellency the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence visited several country pavilions and global companies participating in the Paris AirShow. He familiarized himself with the latest aviation, aerospace products, and industries, as well as defence solutions showcased by major international companies.
Furthermore, Al Alawi met with several officials during his visit to the exhibition, discussing issues and topics related to the aviation and aerospace industry in general, and the defence sector in particular.
French prestigious medal
During the Paris Air Show, General Stéphane Maillet, Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force, awarded Major General Pilot Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al Alawi, Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence, the “Médaille de l’Aéronautique” (Aeronautics Medal). This medal is considered one of the highest national honours in France and is awarded to French or foreign personnel.
Coverage by: Razi Izzeddin El-Hadmi – Photography by: Abdullah M. Al-Suwaidi