Category Archives: Paris Air Show

Local aviation, public relations exec Dave Franson co-launches “Conventional Wisdom”

Veteran Wichita aviation executive Dave Franson has co-founded Conventional Wisdom, a business providing expertise to convention exhibitors so they get the “most from their convention experience.”

Franson, who managed the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention for two years, joins Cassandra Bosco, former head of media relations for NBAA; Bob Searles, former editor of BCA Show Daily; and Steve Lowe, who managed displays and exhibits for Honeywell Aerospace.

They have expertise in media relations, public relations, exhibits and conventions.

They will give advice and counsel on which trade shows or conventions to attend, how much to budget, choosing the message, interacting with customers and the media, creating advertising and press materials, deciding whether to hold a press conference or a customer event and how to do it, where to go for help in designing, building and manning an exhibit and evaluating current exhibits and communication.

Typical customers would be small or mid-size businesses without staff with expertise on conventions, Franson said.

“We’ve all got all of this experience,” Franson said. “What we know from years at NBAA and other trade shows, the first couple of shows … can be a real challenge. It’s always beneficial to have someone who can walk you through that.”

Many companies utilize the NBAA annual convention, the Farnborough Air Show or other shows as their sole effort to market products or services.

Often they ignore or are unaware of the things they can do to multiply their message, Franson said.

“We’ll be available to help them each year or with each show,” he said. “We get with you first and get you up to speed. After the fact, we’ll do a critique and get you ready for the next one, if you desire.”

Franson will retain his position as president of the Wichita Aero Club.


Spirit’s Turner: It’s an ‘upbeat’ Paris Air Show

Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner keeps several pages of paper with him at the Paris Air Show. After an interview, he pulls it out to check it.

In small type is a schedule of the back-to-back meetings he’s having with customers, suppliers, analysts, the media and industry colleagues.

“It’s an upbeat show,” Turner said. “Clearly, people are anticipating an expanding market and lots of opportunity to grow.”

And there’s more interest than there was at the last Paris Air Show two years ago, he said.

Show-goers are more positive about the future, Turner said.

There’s much more interest on the commercial side of the aerospace business. On the military side, “there’s a little less helium in the balloon,” Turner said, as defense spending has declined.

There’s a lot of chatter in the industry about Boeing’s increase in production rates on its 737 jetliner to an eventual 42 per month. Spirit builds the 737 fuselage.

There’s concern among the supply base and the investment community about the sustainability of the rates and whether it’s a bubble or a systemic rise in demand.

“Nobody has the answers; everybody has the questions,” Turner said.

But there is correlation between air travel and gross domestic product growth in the world, he said. And if economies continue to grow at the current rate, demand will rise.

Ten years ago, no one thought there would be the need for 30 or 40 planes a month, “but clearly we do,” he said. “More is better — more production is better.”

Business jet recovery remains slow, Boisture says

Hawker Beechcraft’s CEO Bill Boisture said this morning at the Paris Air Show that the market for business jets is still slow.

“Demand is still spotty,” Boisture said.

He’s becoming more convinced that Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia’s prediction of the market when he spoke recently at the Wichita Aero Club is correct.

Aboulafia predicated a “bifurcated” market, with demand for large business jets coming back faster than the recovery in the small and medium market where Wichita’s planemakers operate.

“We’ve got to clear the used inventory,” Boisture said. “That’s got to get worked out.”

In the meantime, prices are staying “surprisingly low, and there’s not that many transactions,” he said. “We’ve got to work out way out of this.”

Kansas Air National Guard using upgraded monitoring system

The Kansas Air National Guard at McConnell Air Force Base is using platforms to monitor aircraft and read the data that have been significantly upgraded, a spokesman for Raytheon said this morning at the company’s chalet at the Le Bourget airport.

Raytheon has upgraded the Distributed Common Ground System “node” at McConnell. The DCGS takes signals from space or from an airborne platform, said spokesman Jared Adams.

The Guard stationed in Wichita, at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, processes data from the platforms, including Predator, Global Hawk and U2, Raytheon officials said.

The upgrade doubles the imagery processing capability and provides the Air Force with more capacity and flexibility for high-altitude missions, the company said.

Harlow Aerostructures wins $500,000 in work at Paris Air Show

On its first day at the Paris Air Show, Harlow Aerostructures has signed a $500,000 contract with an Israeli company for work.

“They were so excited,” Tammy Nolan with the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition said after the show ended Monday.

The GWEDC is exhibiting at the show along with Harlow Aerostructures and Fiber Dynamics.

The order demonstrates the need for a company to be at the show, participating in the global marketplace, Nolan said.

Bombardier’s Hachey: Company ‘absolutely committed’ to Learjet segment

Bombardier is “absolutely committed” to its Learjet segment of the market, Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey said in an interview before the Paris Air Show opened.

“There should be no concern,” Hachey said.

During the downturn, its Global business jets held up the best, although prices were down, followed by its Challenger segment, which “took a beating.”  But like other manufacturers of small and medium-size business jets, that end of the market was impacted the most.

The Learjet market has stabilized but it hasn’t yet picked up. Production has held at a “reasonable level, but the pie is smaller,” Hachey said.

“Long term, we’re not concerned with that segment,” he said. “We feel really good that Learjet will be a very solid brand for us in the medium and long-term.”

That’s evidenced by its investment in the Learjet 85 under development. The program is going well and on track for first delivery in 2013, he said.

The first expansion to take on the plane has been completed in Wichita, he said. The current building wasn’t high enough or wide enough to accommodate it.

Construction will begin this fall on a new delivery center and paint shop, he said.

A show of market forecasts

Boeing released its commercial market forecast last week ahead of the Paris Air Show. Today, on the first day of the show, Embraer and Forecast International have forecasts of their own.

Embraer predicts a market for 7,225 aircraft in the 30- to 120-seat segment from 2011 to 2030. Over the next 20 years, China will be the fastest-growing market, followed by Latin American, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Forecast International’s forecast is broader. It projects a total of 13,869 large commercial transports will be produced from 2011 through 2020 at a value of $1.8 trillion in today’s dollars.

It notes that the landscape is changing. The market has been dominated by Airbus and Boeing ever since Boeing absorbed McDonnell Douglas in the late 1990s.

But there’s new competition is in the narrowbody segment, where Bombardier’s CSeries, Comac C919 and Irkut MC-21 have appeared.

The widebody segment of the large aircraft market will continue to be largely a contest between Airbus and Boeing, it said.

Boeing shows off 737 with Sky interior

Boeing showed off its Air Berlin 737 at the Le Bourget airport to the media over the noon hour today. It’s outfitted with what it calls its Sky Interior.

Inside, overhead lighting can change from the cool blue of the sky to the warm orange of a sunrise. Overhead bins are configured to hold more baggage. But flight attendants don’t have to struggle with their weight to close them when they’re full.

Attention has been given to small details. For example, buttons over the seats have been reconfigured so passengers don’t confuse the overhead light with the call button for a flight attendant. That’s something that happens on a frequent basis, Boeing officials said during the tour.

Paris Air Show opens to a rainy morning

Transportation to the Le Bourget airport for the Paris Air Show, the world’s largest show, is an adventure.

It was pouring when I left the hotel at 6:30 this morning to maneuver Paris’ RER train system to the airport.

Take the “B” to St. Michel, then transfer to the “C” line, the hotel receptionist told me.

The station is a short walk from the hotel.

The first leg went well. Then the trouble began.

Two of every three trains make every stop from St. Michel to the Charles de Gaulle airport. One is a fast train. Guess which one I got on.

Of course I realized that only after I saw the Le Bourget sign whiz by and we didn’t slow down.

A few stops later, it made an interim stop. And I got off.

It was interesting trying to decide which side of the track to stand and which train to take to go the opposite direction.

Standing in the rain, I was trying to ask the advice of one man who spoke little English, when a woman walked by and told me to go to Station Five. Bless her.

From the Le Bourget stop, free shuttles go the rest of the way to the show. With all the traffic, though the bus was inching its way forward. After 30 minutes, we all got off to walk the rest of the way.

Now, the rain has stopped. The air show is underway. Life is good.

Boeing discusses virtues of 737 replacement at Paris Air Show

The rain didn’t stop thousands from attending the first morning of the Paris Air Show, which opened at Le Bourget Airport north of Paris.

Inside the dry conference center this morning, Boeing’s head of commercial aircraft, Jim Albaugh, said separate teams at Boeing are focusing on putting new engines on its popular 737 airliner or developing a new plane to replace it. Each has advantages.

A redesign is technically viable and and could present an 8 percent operating cost advantage to operators and a lower risk to the company, Albaugh said.

A new airplane would be more costly and risky for Boeing, but it would give operators double-digit operating cost improvements and a plane poised for generations to come.

“I think going with a new airplane certainly is a strategic one, and one that would take care of our customer even better,” Albaugh said.

This time when it designs the plane, it would design the production system together. Whether it would be built at a new facility or require the expansion of a current facility hasn’t been decided.

Boeing expects the market for the plane to eventually surge to a record 60 to 70 per month.

And while it will have global partners as it does with the 787 Dreamliner, it will “redraw the lines” and keep more of the work in-house.

“We put too much outside on the 787,” Albaugh said.

Mike Bair

Mike Bair, head of advanced 737 product development for Boeing

If it chooses to go with a new airplane, it will go through the plane “piece by piece,” making decisions on whether it will be built from carbon or metal.

But the “baseline is carbon,” said Mike Bair, head of advanced 737 product development.

Spirit AeroSystems would be a contender to be a partner on a new airplane, Bair said.

“They use to be us,” said Bair, referring to the Wichita company’s roots as a division of Boeing’s commercial aircraft company.

A Boeing supplier could end up with a large section of a new aircraft, Bair said. But “it would be an open field.

Boeing also announced an agreement from Air Lease Corp. for up to 33 jetliners — 24 7373-800s, five 777-300ERs, and four 787-9 Dreamliners. It also announced an order from Qatar Airways for six 777-300ER airliners valued at $1.7 billion at list prices.

And it announced orders and commitments for 17 747-8 Intercontinental airliners from two undisclosed customers. The combined deals are valued at $5.4 billion at list prices. One customer has committed to 15 of the passenger version; another placed an order for two.

Embraer, meanwhile, has received orders for 39 Embraer 190 regional jets valued at $1.7 billion from Air Lease Corp., Air Astena, General Electric, Sriwijaya Air and Kenya Airways.

It also released a forecast for commercial planes in the 30 to 120 seat segment. Embraer projects demand for 7,225 planes from 2011 to 2030.