A close-up on Paris (1)

One trade fair, four stories – check out the most interesting news stories and background information from the Paris Air Show every day. Taking place at Le Bourget Airport every two years, the event is the largest and most important air show in Europe and a must-attend for anyone in the industry. MTU hosts a 300-square-meter booth with numerous exhibits, and a hospitality chalet.

A period of transition for single-aisle aircraft

“We don’t expect any major orders to be disclosed at this year’s Paris Air Show,” says Theodor Pregler, Senior Vice President, Commercial Programs at MTU Aero Engines. In contrast to previous air shows, which saw Boeing and Airbus, the two major manufacturers of commercial aircraft, racing neck and neck in order announcements, the industry will not reveal any spectacular deals in 2015. Nevertheless, the commercial aircraft market is very much in flux, the most exciting segment currently being single-aisle aircraft.  

Quite a number of new short- and medium-haul jets will hit the market in the next few years, and their manufacturers’ order books are full: According to trade journal Aviation Week, Boeing has already posted 3,890 firm orders and options for its 737 MAX and Airbus’s order intake for the A320neo stands at 5,280. The single-aisle market has long been dominated by these two airframers. But now others have set their sights on breaking this duopoly: Regional jet manufacturers Bombardier and Embraer have expanded their portfolios and will be offering new jets with up to 150 seats. Embraer, for example, secured firm orders and options for a total of 50 of its new E2 family jets powered by PW1000G engines from aircraft lessor Aircastle on the very first day of the air show. Moreover, Sukhoi, Irkut and Comac are vying for a share in this market segment.

The market for regional jets for up to 100 passengers is in a state of flux as well. Bombardier and Embraer, the two major players in this segment, who have so far shared the business between them, are facing competition from Mitsubishi. The Japanese technology group, which has a rich aviation past, has developed its first commercial airliner in six decades. The maiden flight of the MRJ is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2015.

But at Le Bourget there is no sign of an upcoming boom in the single-aisle market. The only all-new aircraft on display will be Bombardier’s CSeries: The Canadian airframer will show both models of this family of jets. “It's a new level of confidence that we can go out and talk to the marketplace that what we said we were going to do on a piece of paper is what we're going to deliver,” said Fred Cromer, Bombardier’s new President, Commercial Aircraft, in a recent interview with industry newswire Flightglobal. Airlines currently appear to be reluctant to order new aircraft. This is why the manufacturers focus on production topics in their pre-show reports. “The big challenge for all of us will be to ensure a smooth transition from aircraft and engines already in production to the new models in a manner that will allow us to meet our delivery commitments,” says Pregler.

At MTU, this will be the transition from the best-selling V2500 powering the classic A320 family to the PW1100G-JM geared turbofan for the A320neo. More than 30 years ago, Aviation Week wrote that “1983 was a transition year” that was marked by “a change in trend, a shift in direction.” That was just shortly before the A320 made quite a big splash in the single-aisle market.

  • Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Defense, too, have traveled to Paris to get the latest update on MTU’s latest activities and offerings, among them Dr. Katrin Suder, Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry of Defense, seen here with MTU CEO Reiner Winkler and MTU chief program officer Michael Schreyögg, or...

  • ... German Army Major General Erhard Bühler, who heads up the directorate-general for planning in the Federal Ministry of Defense.

  • Her Excellency Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer has been Germany’s Ambassador to France since 2012. She, too, did not miss out on the opportunity to stop by at MTU’s booth in Le Bourget. In the photo, she is posing with chief operating officer Dr. Rainer Martens in front of the high-speed low-pressure turbine test module.

  • Martens and Ambassador Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer talked about emerging developments in air traffic in the years to come and about MTU’s position in the aviation industry.

  • Later on, Martens welcomed Henning Otte, the defense policy spokesperson of the Christian Democratic Union parliamentary fraction.

  • MTU employee Bernhard Köppel gave a group of students with a special interest in all things aerospace a tour of MTU’s booth. The students came from Euroavia, an initiative set up in Stuttgart whose aim it is to build relationships between students and industry.

Engines for decades