Paris Air Show 2011


Paris Air Show 2011 which was held at Le Bourget from the 20th -26th June was something that I had always wanted to visit since my childhood days. And this year, 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.

Having been invited by Malaysia Airlines together with a group of business journalist, we were shuttled from our hotel near the Charles De Gaulle International Airport on a daily basis. Our passes were issued at the entrance each day that we attended the show and it was quite fast considering that thousands of business people 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 6 main exhibition halls which were massive and walking from one to another easily took me about 5 minutes across while the air planes were displayed towards the runway tarmac area. As it was a tad cloudy on 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.

Paris Air Show official souvenir shop

Having seen the many aircraft around the show, I have to admit that the teenager in me took over as I hurriedly walked from 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.

Inside the exhibition hall

What impressed me most at the airshow was the many new state-of-the-art technologies which 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 were the planes in all shapes and sizes. Europe's ESA put up two space rockets which stood out like a sore thumb where 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.

Crowd walking towards the main tarmac area

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

On the second say, after a signing ceremony between Malaysia Airlines and Pratt & Whitney to reduce carbon footprint and also to exercise the option for purchasing additional 10 Boeing Next Generation 737-800 planes, I was fortunate enough to be on the first group up the new Boeing 747-8 jumbo jet. As it was a test plane, the exterior was complete with the Intercontinental colours 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 were nice enough to give us a tour around the plane explaining on the technical side of things.

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 a 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 judgement, I found that a majority of the airshow was dedicated towards the military rather than 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. Below are various pictures taken by me during my two days at the air show and in no order.

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

Security getting ready at the Paris Air Show 2011

A giant plane propeller on display

Safran technologies jet engine on display

 Another Safran jet engine

Russian Helicopters booth with lighted flooring

Rolls-Royce chalet with a turning turbine in the front

Guest looking at the airshow map

Another open jet engine on display in the exhibition halls

MBDA showcasing their missile collection


Malaysian journalist in the foreground exploring the airshow

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




Elno helmets on display





Eurocopters F-Xzzz helicopter doing a demo


Nice smiles from some of the staff at the show

A helicopter doing a vertical climb

Heavy duty Warfare equipment from Israel at the Airshow

Bretling Super Constellation classic plane flying at the Paris Air Show 2011

New Airbus A350 Xwb model on display

Anti-Aircraft rocket system from Israel

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

Boeing 747-8 on display

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

The general map area of the 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 journalist from around Malaysia covering this massive even at Le Bourget, Paris. We also visited the Airbus Factory in Toulouse, South of France to see the Malaysia Airlines New Airbus A380 Plane which was still undergoing completion.

I visited Paris, France under the courtesy of Malaysia Airlines which flies daily on the Kuala Lumpur-Paris direct route since 2006. For aviation lovers, you can get a fantastic ticket deal by booking ahead with Malaysia Airlines if you want to attend the next Paris Air Show.

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