There are many signs that the recession in aerospace is over, and the organisers of the 41st Salon International de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace will be hoping that their show at Le Bourget, north of Paris, in June will finally prove the point.
Last time round, in 1993, economic conditions were still obviously tough and, although the show attracted 1,611 exhibitors from 39 countries. Nearly 300,000 visitors attended the show, but this was nearly 25% down on the figure predicted before it opened.
Hopes for an improved turnout this year rest on what is perhaps the most varied and interesting list of aircraft to be seen at one venue at the same time since the 1970s.
The flying display, for example, includes the Bell-Boeing V-22 tilt-rotor, the Airbus "Beluga" Super Transporter, the Eurofighter 2000, the Rockwell/DASA X-31 high-manoeuvrability fighter demonstrator, the McDonnell Douglas C-17 military transport, the Eurocopter EC-135 civil helicopter, the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter, and the Daimler-Benz Aerospace Dornier 328-100. Static firsts include the Boeing 777, Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber, Saab Gripen, Cheetah Mirage and Cessna Citation X (see P54).
Large exhibitions on the air-show circuit have faced increasing pressure in recent years from smaller, modestly priced, regional events. Arguably, none of these is able to match the aircraft display at Paris in 1995, however.
Visitors to Le Bourget in June will be able to judge for themselves.
The French aerospace industries organisation (GIFAS) subcontracts the running of the Paris air show to the Salons Internationaux de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace, a limited liability company, which is based at 4 rue Galilee, 75116 Paris; tel: +33 (1) 47 20 61 09; fax: +33 (1) 47 20 00 86.
HOW TO GET THERE
Traditionally, access to the show by road, particularly if trying to arrive before 08.00, has always been hampered by heavy traffic. This has improved in recent years, but it is still advisable to allow plenty of time if travelling from central Paris.
Motorists from the centre should take the A1 motorway towards Lille and Charles de Gaulle Airport. A slip road before exit number 5, leads directly to the air-show car park. It is well sign posted.
To reach Le Bourget by Metro, take Line 13 from Gare St Lazare to Porte de Paris (Saint Denis), which is linked to the show by shuttle bus. Alternatively, take Line 7 from Opera to La Courneuve, then take bus 152 to Michelet/Le Bourget and pick up the shuttle bus from there.
Using the express metro (the RER), it is possible to reach Le Bourget in less than 25min from Gare du Nord in central Paris. Take Line B5/B3 to Le Bourget and then bus 152 to Michelet/Le Bourget.
To get there by bus from central Paris, take Line 350 from Gare de l'Est or Gare du Nord to Aeroport Le Bourget; or Line 152 from Porte de la Villette to Michelet/Le Bourget.
Compared to previous exhibitions at Le Bourget, the 41st Paris air show has been cut back by two days. It will open on Saturday, 10 June, for a preview to press representatives holding bone fide credentials issued by the show organisers. In the course of the preview day, the French President will officially inaugurate the show and exhibitors will be informed of the timetable for this and any special procedures or access restrictions caused by the ceremony.
The following day is a public day, but thereafter, the show is open to professional and trade visitors only, until the final weekend of 17-18 June, when the public will be admitted again. Opening times for trade visitors and the public are 09.30-18.00 each day. Trade tickets cost Fr120 ($27); public tickets Fr50. Both may be purchased in advance from the organisers.
FLIGHT AT PARIS
As usual, Flight International will provide full and unrivalled coverage of the Paris air show. The Flight Daily tabloid newspaper will be published from offices on site and will be available each day from Sunday, 11 June, through to Friday, 16 June, providing a comprehensive review of issues and stories from the show as they develop. A detailed guide to the show will be published in Flight International in the issue dated 7-13 June, followed by first news in the 14-20 June issue. A full report will be available in the following issue, which will be available at the show on Friday, 16 June.
Further information about the Dailies and the weekly magazine is available from Deputy Editor Forbes Mutch (tel: +44 (181) 652 3852) or Display Advertisement Manager Trevor Parker (Tel: +44 (181) 652 3315).