Le Bourget 2009

By Riccardo Niccoli

 The international aerospace air salon at Paris-Le Bourget, one of the most important and traditional worldwide event in the aerospace sector, was held this year between June 15 and 21, the first four days having been dedicated to the operators, and the last three to the public. In spite of the new record of 2,000 dealers coming from 48 countries, the salon showed to feel the global crisis which is affecting the international economic world. The most critical sector appeared to be that of civil aviation, where the major players (Airbus e Boeing in the main) have to manage an order list which is about half – or less – than that of 2008. The UAV and defence sector, on the contrary, seem to perform better, also because in the military field the programmes are often international, and develop over many years. Quite interesting was the Italian presence, where Finmeccanica Group played a major role, and today stands firmly as of the ten bigger defence holdings, tank also to the recent acquisition of the American DRS. In spite of some difficulties in the United States, with the “Marine One” and “JCA” programmes which have to withstand curious and costly (for the taxpayer) decisions of review, the products are solid and competitive: Eurofighter EF.2000, C-27J, M-346, EH-101, NH-90 and AW139 (only to mention the most popular) are advanced and first level programmes, as well as those proposed by the industries of the Group which operate in the Electronics, Space and Radar fields. AgustaWestland introduced the mock-up of the AW149 helicopter, a project developed for the Turkish Army, but potentially of high interest for many operators, including the Italian Army. The flight display was quite poor, including only four fighters and few other interesting performers. Also in this case, Finmeccanica showed to be one of the strongholds of the salon, considering the displays of the Sukhoi-Alenia Superjet 100 regional jet (a world first, which announced its first 30 order at the show) and of the EF.2000, C-27J, M-346 and NH-90, which represented a good 30% of the only 15 or so important aircraft which flew during the first four days. To these, the organizers added some light and historic aircraft, taking advantage of the 100 years celebration of the air shows in Paris.


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