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Paris Air Show Review

Le Bourget Air Ahow

The Paris Air Show was held at Le Bourget from the 20th to 26th June in 2011 was something that I had always wanted to visit since my childhood days.

Finally, I made my way there to experience the oldest and largest airshow in the world. This time around, a total of 2100 international exhibitors had secured their places at the massive trade grounds which took me two days to probably see only 60% of everything.

The 49th Paris Air Show also showcased a total of 140 aircraft throughout the grounds where a total of 140,000 trade visitors and 193,000 public visitors attended this prestigious event.

Paris Air Show 2011 Review

Having been invited by Malaysia Airlines together with a group of business journalists, we were shuttled from our hotel near the Charles De Gaulle International Airport on a daily basis.

Our air show passes were issued at the entrance each day that we attended the show, and it was quite fast considering that thousands of businesspeople were heading here.

Exploring the airshow on foot is no easy task as it is extremely huge covering a total of 320,000 square meters.

There were about six main exhibition halls that were massive and walking from one to another easily took me about 5 minutes across while the airplanes were displayed towards the runway tarmac area.

As it was a tad cloudy in the first and second day, it did not stop the curious thousands of people flocking here.

The first three days was only open to invited guest, businessmen and media while the following three days was opened to the public.

Souvenir Shop Paris Air Show
Paris Air Show official souvenir shop

Having seen the many kinds of aircraft around the airshow, I have to admit that the teenager in me took over as I hurriedly walked from the plane to plane checking out everything I could get my eyes on.

From airplanes, jet fighters, space rockets, transport aircraft, classic planes, helicopters, unmanned drones to missiles, aviation technology and everything you could possibly think of was found here.

If you had no interest in this area, then you would find it very odd but for me, I simply could not stop clicking away on my camera.

Exhibition Hall Paris Air Show
Inside the exhibition hall

Paris Air Show Exhibition Halls

What impressed me most at the airshow was the many new state-of-the-art technologies that were inside the main exhibition halls.

A total of 50 countries participated and the big names such as Dassault, Safran, EADS, Arianespace, MBDA, Hutchinson Aerospace, Aerolia, Russia's UAC and many more.

While the tarmac area hosted a total of 28 international pavilions, the main attraction was the planes in all shapes and sizes.

Europe's ESA put up two space rockets which stood out like a sore thumb was walking towards the tarmac area, these were the first things you would see.

A number of giants were also on display including the humongous USAF military C5-Galaxy, Boeing's latest 747-8 test plane, a Korean Air Airbus A380, and the new Airbus Military A400M.

Photograph of Paris Air Show Crowd walking towards the main tarmac area

Malaysian Airlines CEO and MD Tengku Dato' Sri Azmil and Boeing's Marlin Dailey

On the second day, after a signing ceremony between Malaysia Airlines and Pratt and Whitney to reduce carbon footprint and also to exercise the option for purchasing an additional 10 Boeing Next Generation 737-800 planes.

I was fortunate enough to be on the first group up to the all-new Boeing 747-8 jumbo jet. As it was a test plane, the exterior was completed with the Intercontinental colors while the entire inside was a test lab.

There were no seats except for loads of test equipment. Wires were seen running throughout the plane from front to back.

The test crew was nice enough to give us a tour around the plane explaining the technical side of things.

Rocket at Paris Air Show
European Space Agency (ESA) Rocket at the Paris Air Show 2011

Later that afternoon, I could not resist moving to the runway area as I was lured by the sounds of roaring jets.

Jet fighters had taken off to do an aerial display followed by helicopters. Soon after that, some cargo planes went up and next up, the Airbus A380-800 plane was doing its stuff circling the airshow.

A surreal moment as I looked at this huge piece of metal attempting to show off in low altitude going round and round to the sounds of oohs and ahhs from the crowd. Many including me were very impressed by the flying skills of these pilots at the airshow.
By my own judgment, I found that a majority of the airshow was dedicated to the military rather than the consumer. I guess things have much changed over the last few decades.

Overall, I have to say, attending this major event has been on my bucket list for over 20 years and I finally had a chance to experience it.

Paris Air Show Photos

Below are various pictures of the Paris Air Show taken by me during my two days here, and in no order. They are just snapshots from around the event.

Paris Air Show Airbus A380-800 Korean Air Airbus A380-800 plane circling the airspace at the show

Security at Paris Air Show Security getting ready at the Paris Air Show 2011

A giant plane propeller on display

Paris Air Show Safran Booth
Safran technologies jet engine on display

Paris Air Show Safran Jet Engine
 Another Safran jet engine

Paris Air Show Russian Helicopters
Russian Helicopters booth with lighted flooring

Paris Air Show Rolls-Royce Chalet
Rolls-Royce chalet with a turning turbine in the front

Guest looking at the airshow map

Engine Display Paris Air Show
Another open jet engine on display in the exhibition halls

Paris Air Show MBDA
MBDA showcasing their missile collection

Malaysian journalist in the foreground exploring the airshow

The landing gear on display

Sales representative explaining to a potential customer

A missile holding pod

Military personnel checking a jet fighter

EADS booth with Eurocopter, Airbus, Astrium, and Cassidian

EADS booth showcasing some of the latest future technology

Aviation Elno Helmets
Elno Helmets on display
F-XZZZ Eurocopter Helicopter
Eurocopter F-ZXXX helicopter doing a demo

Paris Air Show Eurocopter
Eurocopter on display

Reception at Paris Air Show
Nice smiles from some of the staff at the show

A helicopter doing a vertical climb

Pictures Paris Air Show
Heavy-duty warfare equipment from Israel at the Airshow

Classic Breitling Super Constellation Aircraft
Breitling Super Constellation classic plane flying at the Paris Air Show 2011

Paris Air Show Airbus A350 XWB
New Airbus A350 XWB model on display

Anti-aircraft gun from Israel
Anti-Aircraft rocket system from Israel

Dassault 7X Plane
7X Air Plane from Dassault inside the exhibition area

A jet fighter shows some skills in the air

Missiles on display

20mm Cannon Gun. Heavy-duty artillery

Photo of Boeing 747-8
Boeing 747-8 on display

Interior of Boeing 747-8
Inside the Boeing 747-8 Jumbo Jet. A test plane at the airshow

Map of Paris Air Show
The general map area of the air show

Paris Air Show Information
Venue: Le Bourget Airport (LBG), Paris, France
Dates: Usually in June
Website: Paris Air Show


For those who are into aviation, you can also read this article about the 2011 Paris Air Show by Stephanie Siaw from the Borneo Post as she was one of the 17 journalists from around Malaysia covering this massive event at Le Bourget, Paris.

During our trip here, we also visited the Airbus Factory in Toulouse, South of France to see Malaysia Airlines new Airbus A380 Plane which was still undergoing completion.

For this journey, I visited Paris under the courtesy of Malaysia Airlines, which flies daily on the Kuala Lumpur to Paris direct route since 2006. (Update: Malaysia Airlines no longer flies to Paris, but does a codeshare flight)

For the serious aviation lovers, you can get a fantastic ticket deal by booking ahead with some of the airlines that fly here if you want to attend the next Paris Air Show, which is usually in the summer month of June. 


Lily Riani said...

certainly an eye opener, never bee to one, not even the one in langkawi.

CathJ said...

wowww... this is cool stuff.... Interesting..

Malaysia Asia said...

Lily - It sure was. Also, try going to the next LIMA in Langkawi.

Cath - Thanks. If you love planes, air shows are a must to visit.