PARIS — Day 2 of the 2013 Paris Air Show started off rather cool. My train was on-time, there really wasn’t any traffic on the bus, and I even got a locker for my bag in the press center. Very quickly, however, things started to heat up. And I don’t mean just the temperature, which soared to whatever 30C is in imperial, Today turned out to be a very hot day for huge aircraft announcements and orders.
One of the first announcements of the day came in the form of the long awaited Boeing 777X, which is still not officially launched. Boeing announced that they are “adding the best of the 787 and 747-8, the 777X will provide breakthrough economics and an all-new interior.” Boeing also says that they are “looking at repositioning and resizing the passenger windows to provide more ambient light in the cabin and provide passengers with better views outside the cabin,” which would more align it with the 787.
Oh, and it will have a folding wingtip, which is something that Boeing has been experimenting with for quite some time. So, we continue to wait for the official launch of the airplane we all know is coming.
Immediately after the 777x update, Boeing officially launched the 787-10 with $30 billion worth of orders already on the books. The stretched version of the 787 has a range of 7,000 nautical miles, with seating for up to 330 passengers. The buyers are Air Lease with 30 planes, GE Capital Services with 10, British Airways with 12, and Singapore Airlines with 30 and United Airlines with 20. United expects their first 787-10 in 2018.
Meanwhile, over at the ATR chalet, Nordic Aviation Capital placed a firm order for 35 ATR -600’s. easyJet also ordered 100 A320neo and 35 A320ceo aircraft. I know that order smaller orders occurred, but there are bigger, more important items that need to be discussed.
During one of the earlier Boeing events, I was talking with USA Today’s Ben Ben Mutzabaugh, speculating what might happen at the next customer announcement, which turned out to be the 787-10 launch. I mentioned how great it would be if it was a 747-8i launch. Immediately, we all laughed, because that seemed so unlikely. Low and behold, several hours later, Jon Ostrower sends out a tweet citing “sources” that Korean Air ordered that very aircraft. No. Way.
Korean Air ordered five 747-8i’s, as well as six 777-300ER’s, a deal worth $3.6 billion. This was a shock to everyone who heard the news. Many people had put the 747-8i program on death watch, as the only other passenger airline to order it was Lufthansa, and no one else since. Obviously, this was huge news.
Later in the day as I roasted in the French sun, the air displays occurred again. I too video of the Airbus a380 display this time, and it’s definitely worth a watch. As for the rest of the afternoon, it was so hot that I don’t even remember what I did. Oh, I was given a demo of an experimental 737NG simulator, took tours of a Qatar 787 and Interjet SuperJet SSJ100, and checked out a mock flight deck of the Airbus A350. Those are full stories for another day, however.
So that was day 2 of the 2013 Paris Air Show. It was hot, really hot. But the aviation industry news was even hotter. Only in Paris.