The Paris Air Show’s third and penultimate trade day was once again full of surprises; some of them big ones. Officially launched seven months ago, the successor to the current Beluga now has a name: the Beluga XL. Airbus took advantage of the show to announce the industrialists’ names who will manufacture the new oversize industrial air transporter ‘plane’s various fuselage parts. Based on the A330, the Beluga XL will provide 30% more carrying capacity; useful, notably for the transport of both the A350’s wings on a single flight, as against just the one wing today. In all, five aircraft will be built, with the first being programmed to enter service in 2019.
The rate at which the constructors’ orders are being announced has slowed, but Embraer had no intention of coming to Le Bourget just to make up the numbers. The Brazilian manufacturer has announced 50 firm orders and as many commitments to purchase since 15 June. These include their future E-Jets (E190-E2 and E195-E2) which are proving successful, with first deliveries expected in 2018.A new entrant into the manufacturers’ arena is TRJet. Based in Turkey, the new subsidiary of the American company SNC, intends to produce the first 100% Turkish regional aircraft: the TRJ328 to be exact, but for the present we know little more.Russia’s Sukhoi have announced that they are seriously considering the launch of a stretched version of the SSJ100 in 2020, with an increased seating capacity up from 100 to 120 seats. In the event, the manufacturer will more than likely retain the same SSJ100 engines, but opt for a different wing. A final decision is expected before the end of the year. The Japanese manufacturer, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, came to the show to give the latest news of the MRJ, their 92-seater regional aircraft. Launched in 2008, the first of five test aircraft is approaching its first flight. On 8 June it completed the first low-speed taxiing tests. All Nippon Airways will be the MRJ’s launch company.
Akbar Al Baker, head of Qatar Airways is well known for his outspokenness, and this Paris Air Show has been no exception to the rule. On the occasion of signing a contract with Boeing, Akbar Al-Baker made a cutting remark to the CEO of Delta Airlines: "I hope that the gentleman at Delta knows that we are creating even more jobs in the United States by ordering more airplanes." An aside, which comes amid controversy over the possible public subsidies that could have gone to some companies in the Gulf.Finally, a little background music to these images of helicopters, which form part of the some 120 aircraft on the show’s static display.