A record 36 companies from the industrial Provence-Alpes-Cte d'Azur (PACA) region are present at Le Bourget this year - a massive increase from the five which exhibited at Paris 2003. Of that number, 23 are in the collective area (Hall 4, D7/8).

The French government and the region itself are largely to thank for this astonishing growth, the result of their broad encouragement, financial support and strong promotion of aeronautics, space and defence industries in the region.

"We really wanted to encourage the smaller PACA companies to join the airshow this year. Many hadn't factored in their importance within the global industry - but we all know that without the button, the light doesn't turn on," explains coordinator Stphane Vialettes.

Welding, mechanic engineering, project conceptualisation, tool and cable manufacturing, computer systems programming, aeronautic maintenance, security, production of exhaust silencers and wheel repairs are among the specialisations of these 'French Sun-Belt' companies. The region has the second-largest concentration of aerospace-related activity in France, behind l'Ile-de-France. It features expertise in several key areas of production: helicopter, satellite and drone manufacturing, simulation, training, testing and research and development.

Source: Flight Daily News