Sous le ciel de Paris

LE BOURGET, FRANCE - The Air France 777 Freighter arrived here Sunday night. The airplane will be on static display just outside the Boeing chalet this week. I have to say, the landing of the 777 Freighter was a beautiful sight and to my mind signals the official start of an always busy week.

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Touchdown at Le Bourget. The Air France Cargo 777 here is the second 777F delivered to Air France. I’m sure we’ll be talking a lot about the 777 Freighter’s outstanding fuel efficient and cargo capacity during the week.

They’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Paris Air Show this year. This time though, the industry is in a serious downturn, with IATA predicting losses for the airlines in the billions of dollars in 2009. You’ve seen the headlines, as I have, talking about how the economy “overshadows” the air show, or highlighting a supposed “gloomy” mood at Le Bourget.

Well even if the tone is more subdued this year, I don’t think any of that takes away from what this event represents to us at Boeing and to global aviation in general. This is first and foremost a time and a place to meet with our customers, partners, suppliers - to build on and strengthen our relationships with them and to do what we can to make them successful.

It’s also a time for some of our executives to meet with members of the media, and share our views on where aviation is headed, and how Boeing plans to meet the challenges today and in the future

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Economic storm clouds or not, the public days at the Paris Air Show remain highly populuar. A billboard outside Le Bourget promotes weekend flying displays which will feature 3 hours of aerial feats by the latest commercial and military aircraft as well as 30 vintage airplanes.

As for the air show itself, the organizers say that in spite of “this exceptionally difficult environment” there are a record number of exhibitors here - more than 2,000 - and every chalet and stand is booked. The show says that for the first time, Australia, Lithuania, Libya, Mexico and Tunisia will be present at the show.

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Above, the 777F rolls past some iconic Paris landmarks in the distance. Below, pulling into position at the air show.

So as we begin this historic 100th anniversary air show, sous le ciel de Paris - under the sky of Paris - we wonder whether that sky will be stormy or show signs of clearing.

We’ll know soon enough. But for now, let’s start the show.

Comments (3)

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Fantastique. :) Over the last few years, we've been treated to new and exciting models of the excellent 777 at Paris - and that beauty over there is no different.

Great video link there for those of us not familiar with the exquisite beauty of Paris. Have a good.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The 777 cargo plane makes a lot of sense for Air France, it has components shared with the 777-300ER and the standard 777-200ER as well as similar training.

I hope more cargo companies and airlines order the 777 cargo plane, it is an excellent and natural successor to the MD-11.

Keith Sketchley (Saanich B.C. Canada):

The Boeing C-17 presentation describes an impressive airplane, more than many people knew it was, but I have questions about airfield performance:
- interesting field length comparison, C130H is a big fast transport not the short-field airplane many think it is, but:
o does presentation use present or proposed shorter-field C-17? (If the latter, isn’t there development risk on improvements?)
o is range information with present or improved engines?
o there are descrepancies within the presentation as to field length rqmts of C130 & C17 (which are of course dependent on the specific mission thus the payload- range combination needed)

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